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A Vegetable Garden Grows at the White House

The organic garden will show the value of good food and nutrition. Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.

Earlier this month, Michelle Obama and twenty-three schoolchildren helped prepare the ground for an organic vegetable garden on the South Lawn of the White House. The first lady showed the young gardeners how to turn the soil for the one hundred square meter garden.

The students from nearby Bancroft Elementary School will help grow fifty-five kinds of vegetables, herbs and berries. They will plant organic seedlings in a few weeks. The White House will provide organic fertilizer for the garden. Crops will include lettuce, spinach, broccoli, peas, onions and berries. Missus Obama said two beehives will provide honey. The whole Obama family, including the president, will pull weeds in the garden. The total cost of the seedlings and fertilizer is two hundred dollars.

The vegetables and fruit will help provide meals for the Obama family, White House workers and guests. The produce will also go to a nearby center that provides food for homeless people. Michelle Obama said the main goal of the garden is to educate children and influence communities to choose and prepare healthful food.

The garden will be the first on the White House lawn since World War Two. President Franklin Roosevelt's wife Eleanor planted what was called a "Victory Garden" as part of the war effort in nineteen forty-three.

Eleanor Roosevelt urged all Americans to grow their own vegetables and fruits. Much of the nation's farm produce at the time was feeding American soldiers. More recently, President and Missus Clinton had a small garden. But it was planted in containers on the roof of the White House.

The White House garden marks a victory for people like Professor Michael Pollan of the University of California, Berkeley. The writer and food expert has worked to increase public education about good food. He said gardens like the one at the White House help people reconnect with food and eat more healthfully.

In a public letter to Mister Obama several months ago, Michael Pollan said a White House garden would set a revolutionary example of healthful eating and local farming for the whole country.

And that's the VOA Special English Agriculture Report, written by Jerilyn Watson. You can learn more about growing food at our Web site, I'm Steve Ember.