There's a 1,100-square-foot vegetable, fruit and herb garden on the South Lawn of the White House. That patch of earth planted in March — the first time vegetables have been grown at the White House since Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency in the '40s — has yielded 700-plus pounds of lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, collards and more for meals at the White House and a nearby homeless shelter. That garden, first lady Michelle Obama told reporters, is "one of the greatest things that I've done in my life." It also signaled the first lady's efforts to improve America's eating habits, tackle childhood obesity and encourage fitness. She began by bringing those efforts to her new home, where chef-working mom Cristeta Comerford runs the White House kitchen, by adding chef Sam Kass (whose track record includes work at Avec) to mentor her local-sustainable efforts. Other first ladies have urged healthy eating at the White House ( Hillary Clinton pushed for a low-fat menu, while Laura Bush encouraged organic foods). But Michelle Obama has, in her first year, moved food and nutrition issues front and center. Her efforts dovetail with our appetite for the food-tube (she kicked off this year with an appearance on "Iron Chef America") and America's awareness that what you eat plays a major role in your health. Chicago and 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
Samantha Appleton, The White House HANDOUT