Michelle Obama and the Launch of the White House Farmers Market | Civil Eats

Michelle Obama and the Launch of the White House Farmers Market

IMG_2112.JPG

The White House likes healthy, fresh, local food — that was the message of First Lady Michelle Obama at the opening of the farmers market around the corner from the White House on Thursday. “I have never seen so many people excited about fruits and vegetables,” she began. “That’s a very good thing.”

She linked the market to the garden on the White House lawn. “When we decided to plant the White House garden, we thought it would be a way to educate kids about eating more healthy. But the garden has turned out into so much more than we could have expected,” she said. “This has been one of the greatest things I’ve done in my life so far.”

She also tied it to the health debate now underway. “I realized that little things like the garden can actually play a role in all of these larger discussions,” she said.

It was a celebratory occasion, punctuated by screams and yelps from the crowd. And then after her remarks, the shopping began as the First Lady strolled over to the Farm at Sunnyside and bought some organic vegetables from my friend Emily Cook, who I knew as a farm intern years ago.

USDA Secretary Vilsack was also on hand, drinking a bottle of organic chocolate milk from the grass fed cows at Clear Spring Creamery in Washington County, Maryland.

IMG_2138.JPG

But the main attraction was the First Lady. Clearly, the White House is interested in this issue. Clearly, they are trying to do something about it. And hopefully, it will move past symbolism and the snarky criticism of columnists who miss the forest for the kale and retread the same old tired ground. A far more subtle and intelligent reading of this entire event — and an analysis of the First Lady’s message — can be found in this post by Eddie Gehman Kohan of ObamaFoodarama.

Grass roots activism started this local foods movement, dramatically expanding farmers’ markets around the country, but celebrities and policy makers will push things to the next level.

We’ll bring the news to you.

Get the weekly Civil Eats newsletter, delivered to your inbox.

Among them — Bernadine Prince and Ann Yonkers, who launched the first FreshFarm Markets 12 years ago in DC and made this White House market happen. Farmers markets have come a long way since then and I expect they have a ways to go.

Here’s a video of the First Lady’s speech:

This post originally appeared on ChewsWise

Today’s food system is complex.

Invest in nonprofit journalism that tells the whole story.

Samuel Fromartz is a Washington, D.C.-based writer and author of Organic Inc: Natural Foods and How They Grew. The book includes a description of the birth of FreshFarm markets in Washington and the earliest organic farmers who sold in the city in the 1970s. He blogs at ChewsWise.com. Read more >

Like the story?
Join the conversation.

More from

General

Featured

Popular

The Field Report: New Research Shows Dangerous Levels of ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Freshwater Fish

a fisherman pulls a largemouth bass that is probably polluted with PFAS from a freshwater lake

As Grocery Stores Get Bigger, Small Farms Get Squeezed Out

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 13: Produce is offered for sale at a grocery store on October 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. According to government data released today, the food at home index, a measure of grocery store prices, increased 0.7% in September from the month prior and saw a 13% increase over the last year. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Op-ed: Some Regenerative Farms Are Weathering California’s Unprecedented Rainfall

SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 09: In an aerial view, water floods a vineyard on January 09, 2023 in Santa Rosa, California. The San Francisco Bay Area and much of Northern California continues to get drenched by powerful atmospheric river events that have brought high winds and flooding rains. The storms have toppled trees, flooded roads and cut power to tens of thousands. Storms are lined up over the Pacific Ocean and are expected to bring more rain and wind through the end of the week. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Farm Credit Administration’s First Indigenous Chairman Wants to Level the Playing Field

Eldrige Hoy, left, and Bryson Sam, members of the Choctaw Nation, seed a high tunnel with Iron Clay peas as a cover crop to improve soil quality. (USDA photo by Bob Nichols)