Allegrini 2018


“This is my baby, it all started from this garden. It's a circle that is now closing”, said the US First Lady Michelle Obama just a few days before the US presidential elections, in the midst of a fiery campaign and their impending move from the White House. She had officially opened the most famous garden in the world on the White House lawn in Washington, which was the core of her campaign against childhood obesity in schools "Let's Move!" (www.letsmove.gov).
The question therefore arises, now who is going to cultivate the garden? Tracing its history in her speech for the occasion, which the Italian daily "Corriere della Sera" has published, she said, “it was an idea that came up when Barack was running for his first term, in our kitchen at home in Chicago together with Chef Sam Kass, asking myself what kind of First Lady I would want to be”.
Michelle Obama remembers thinking about the challenge many families are facing, “trying to raise healthy children. And so I came up with the crazy idea of a vegetable garden on the lawns of the White House, as the starting point of a debate on the origin of the food we eat and its impact on the our children’s health” (which led to the foundation of the first Task Force on childhood obesity and auditing federal programs on child nutrition and physical activity).
And, above all, she answered the question herself: “It fills me with pride knowing to answer the question: “it fills me with pride knowing that this little kitchen garden will continue to exist as a symbol of hope to see the blossoming of a healthier nation for our children, an ambition that in this space, the exterior house of Americans, finds its most appropriate forum. It fills me with pride knowing that this garden will serve to remind us of the process that we have started, but also the work that we must all complete. And in this day of inauguration it is my hope that future presidential families will love it as much as we do, and it will become an institution of the White House”.

Michelle Obama’s words would be enough to explain why Carlin Petrini, founder of Slow Food, has suggested planting a vegetable garden in the gardens of the Quirinale in Rome, “the home of Italians”, addressed to the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella during his official visit last month at "Terra Madre Salone del Gusto" in Turin. WineNews was also there and asked Alice Waters, vice president of Slow Food, food education pioneer in the US "Edible schoolyards" and who helped Michelle Obama grow a vegetable garden, responded to the question on the future of the vegetable garden at the White House.
“We hope that the next President, we hope that "she"(not hiding her preference for Clinton, since Donald Trump has made fast food one of the icons of his campaign, ed.) wants a vegetable garden, and maybe will add another one on the front lawn of the White House, or one on the roof. I hope that if Hillary Clinton is elected there will be a significant change, but I know for sure she takes children to heart, believes in this path from the fields to the schools, from the fields to restaurants, and is serious about rural development”.
“At the beginning”, said Michelle Obama, “there were those who argued that it was not a great idea. Many feared that the childhood obesity issue was too "soft", "too First Ladyish". Others had the opposite reaction, convinced that this issue was too large and complex for a First Lady. Honestly, even I had many doubts. What if we had planted a vegetable garden and nothing grew? Fortunately none of those fears materialized. We opened the doors to so many kids to come here, season after season, to plant and harvest vegetables”. And, the White House staff was with them. The products of the garden “have fed thousands of people thanks to an organization engaged in helping the needy”. And, above all, one of the questions leaders of other countries most frequently asks President Obama is, “how's your wife’s garden”?

The First Lady officially inaugurated the last stage of her project, and unveiled a plaque that states: “The White House Kitchen garden established in 2009 by First Lady Michelle Obama in the hope of growing a healthier nation for our children”.

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