the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the First Lady
For Immediate Release

Remarks by the First Lady at Sixth Annual Kitchen Garden Planting

White House Kitchen Garden

3:37 P.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA:  Hey, people!  Little people and big people.  How are you guys?  This is the sixth annual planting of the White House kitchen garden -- six times we’ve done this over six years.  Pretty amazing, huh?


MRS. OBAMA:  So guess what we’re doing differently this year?  We are going to plant something called a pollinator garden.  Did you hear about this?


MRS. OBAMA:  So just for the folks at home who have not heard about a pollinator, but a pollinator garden helps to encourage the production of bees and monarch butterflies.  And why do we need to do that?  You guys -- just yell it out.

STUDENT:  Because they pollinate the plants.

MRS. OBAMA:  They pollinate the plants, they help the plants grow.  But why do we need to help bees and butterflies -- what’s happening to them?  Yell it out.  They’re dying because of disease -- we don’t even know why some beehives are just totally disappearing.  But that could be a problem for the planet because if you don’t have insects and great pollinators to pollinate the plants, it could affect our food source, it could affect our ability to continue to grow things.  And that would be a problem.

So this garden is going to help to contribute to improving that problem.  So we’re going to plant all kinds of flowers that attract bees and butterflies, which is not going to make the Obama girls happy because they don’t really like bees.  But bees are good.  Bees are a good thing.  So you guys are going to help do that, and that’s the first time we’ve done a pollinator garden.  Pretty cool, huh? 

All right, well, let me welcome you guys who are here so we get good shoutouts from all the schools that are participating, okay.  So when I say your school name, I want to hear it.  All right?  If you really love your school, then you’ll hear it -- we’ve got schools that have been here every single year. 

We’ve got Bancroft.  (Applause.)  Bancroft!  (Laughter.)  Another longstanding school partner, we have Harriet Tubman.  (Applause.)  Tubman, yes!  And we’ve got Kimball Elementary School.  (Applause.)  Now, the teachers, you all could help, too.  Where are the -- you guys, come on. 

And we have a couple of new schools this year.  We’ve got the Cleveland Elementary School.  (Applause.)


MRS. OBAMA:  All right!  (Applause.)  See, that’s new.  They've never been here before, so they’re still excited.  And then we’ve got Friendship Public Charter School.  (Applause.)  Yay!  Very exciting. 

But we also have some special friends from the FoodCorps -- let’s hear it for the FoodCorps.  (Applause.)  Now, the FoodCorps are near and dear to my heart because they’re an AmeriCorps national service program.  And before I became First Lady, I ran an AmeriCorps program called Public Allies. 

But what these young people do -- young people.  You guys are getting old compared to these guys.  (Laughter.)  Young compared to me.  But you guys take a year, right, and spend a year either after college, during college, after college, and they spend it in a community, in a school helping you guys understand the importance of healthy eating and knowing what good food is and helping you plant gardens in your schools and in your communities, right?  You’re helping to spread that knowledge about why eating fresh fruits and vegetables is so important -- so important that they have dedicated a year of their life to making that happen.  They’re going to be helping out today.  Thank you guys so much.  Thanks for your service and your efforts.  It really makes a difference.  The whole notion of getting out there and teaching healthy habits for our kids is brilliant, and we’re grateful.  And welcome here to the White House.  (Applause.)  Yay! 

And we’ve got our White House team, our crew who is here.  (Applause.)  Our crew, our chefs who -- they are so invested in this garden, because they use the garden every day.  They pull things out of that garden every day, they put it on our plates and we eat it for dinner and they serve it at big state dinners.  So the garden is very important to them, which is why they always come down and make sure that you guys do it right. 


Q    Where are you from?

MRS. OBAMA:  Where am I from?  Chicago.  Good question.  (Laughter.)  All right, you guys.  So I think we’re ready.  Sam -- and then we have Sam Kass.  Have you guys met Sam? 

All right, so you guys have your jobs.  You’ve got your assignments.  All right, well, let’s get to work.  Let’s move!  Let’s move!  (Applause.) 

3:43 P.M. EDT