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American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America

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In April 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama planted a kitchen garden on the White House’s South Lawn.  As fresh vegetables, fruit, and herbs sprouted from the ground, this White House Kitchen Garden inspired a new conversation all across the country about the food we feed our families and the impact it has on the health and well-being of our children.    Now, in her first-ever In April 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama planted a kitchen garden on the White House’s South Lawn.  As fresh vegetables, fruit, and herbs sprouted from the ground, this White House Kitchen Garden inspired a new conversation all across the country about the food we feed our families and the impact it has on the health and well-being of our children.    Now, in her first-ever book, American Grown, Mrs. Obama invites you inside the White House Kitchen Garden and shares its inspiring story, from the first planting to the latest harvest.  Hear about her worries as a novice gardener – would the new plants even grow? Learn about her struggles and her joys as lettuce, corn, tomatoes, collards and kale, sweet potatoes and rhubarb flourished in the freshly tilled soil.  Get an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at every season of the garden’s growth, with striking original photographs that bring its story to life.  Try the unique recipes created by White House chefs and made with ingredients just picked from the White House garden.  And learn from the White House Garden team about how you can help plant your own backyard, school or community garden.    Mrs. Obama’s journey continues across the nation as she shares the stories of other gardens that have moved and inspired her: Houston office workers who make the sidewalk bloom; a New York City School that created a scented garden for the visually impaired; a North Carolina garden that devotes its entire harvest to those in need; and other stories of communities that are transforming the lives and health of their citizens.     In American Grown, Mrs. Obama tells the story of the White House Kitchen Garden, celebrates the bounty of gardens across our nation, and reminds us all of what we can grow together.        


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In April 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama planted a kitchen garden on the White House’s South Lawn.  As fresh vegetables, fruit, and herbs sprouted from the ground, this White House Kitchen Garden inspired a new conversation all across the country about the food we feed our families and the impact it has on the health and well-being of our children.    Now, in her first-ever In April 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama planted a kitchen garden on the White House’s South Lawn.  As fresh vegetables, fruit, and herbs sprouted from the ground, this White House Kitchen Garden inspired a new conversation all across the country about the food we feed our families and the impact it has on the health and well-being of our children.    Now, in her first-ever book, American Grown, Mrs. Obama invites you inside the White House Kitchen Garden and shares its inspiring story, from the first planting to the latest harvest.  Hear about her worries as a novice gardener – would the new plants even grow? Learn about her struggles and her joys as lettuce, corn, tomatoes, collards and kale, sweet potatoes and rhubarb flourished in the freshly tilled soil.  Get an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at every season of the garden’s growth, with striking original photographs that bring its story to life.  Try the unique recipes created by White House chefs and made with ingredients just picked from the White House garden.  And learn from the White House Garden team about how you can help plant your own backyard, school or community garden.    Mrs. Obama’s journey continues across the nation as she shares the stories of other gardens that have moved and inspired her: Houston office workers who make the sidewalk bloom; a New York City School that created a scented garden for the visually impaired; a North Carolina garden that devotes its entire harvest to those in need; and other stories of communities that are transforming the lives and health of their citizens.     In American Grown, Mrs. Obama tells the story of the White House Kitchen Garden, celebrates the bounty of gardens across our nation, and reminds us all of what we can grow together.        

30 review for American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America

  1. 4 out of 5

    Naomi

    This book was just all around cool and unusual. Can I give it more than 5 stars?!?! First off, Mrs. Obama gave a history of gardening in the US focusing on the Victory Gardens of WWII. I have heard alot about them, but it was interesting to see how they had impacted her family while before she was born and while she was growing up. I loved the fact that she demostrated bringing children into the WH and teaching them about food sustainability. I think gardening is a lost artform in a country surro This book was just all around cool and unusual. Can I give it more than 5 stars?!?! First off, Mrs. Obama gave a history of gardening in the US focusing on the Victory Gardens of WWII. I have heard alot about them, but it was interesting to see how they had impacted her family while before she was born and while she was growing up. I loved the fact that she demostrated bringing children into the WH and teaching them about food sustainability. I think gardening is a lost artform in a country surrounded with fast food or several types of grocery stores. Second, she gave bios of White House gardeners and the kitchen staff. It was fascinating to read them discuss how they use the crops each season, not only in meals for the first family, but also state meals. On a sidenote, she discusses WH gardens and suitable plants through out the seasons, even Winter. Something I never thought about in my own garden, but will def. be taking into consideration this year. Third, she discusses growing your own garden and tips for making it successful. I had my own garden for years, but I think that backyard gardens are a thing of the past for 99% of Americans and that is sad to me. One of the chefs talked about the taste of fresh picked fruit, herbs and veggies compared to ones that have been sitting in a store and he is right. Having a food blog and cooking alot. I love being able to walk out back and grab my fruits/veggies right off the plant/tree. The great point that she brought up is the concept of community garden plots for those who live in a city or suburb setting. Can't do a community garden in the city...farmers markets are EVERYWHERE! Some are HUGE and some are small in a parking lot, but still worth the looksee! Finally, the last section of the book was dedicated to recipes which I could have taken or left. In fact, I did..I grabbed some of them, while leaving some!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alana Benjamin

    II read this book because I was going through First Lady withdrawals. This book exceeded my expectations. It is impeccably curated providing a great balance of visuals and useful information. It highlights The First Lady's motivations for starting a garden and a bit of her family history and upbringing. The book is divided into seasons showing the preparation, planting, harvesting of the first White House Kitchen Garden and how it expanded over the first four years. The book is very candid about II read this book because I was going through First Lady withdrawals. This book exceeded my expectations. It is impeccably curated providing a great balance of visuals and useful information. It highlights The First Lady's motivations for starting a garden and a bit of her family history and upbringing. The book is divided into seasons showing the preparation, planting, harvesting of the first White House Kitchen Garden and how it expanded over the first four years. The book is very candid about their teething process and challenges of starting the garden as well as showcasing and featuring a lot of the staff and volunteers instrumental in the success of WH Garden. (it indeed took an army!) I really appreciated the history of gardens and grounds of the White House (really interesting!) as well as the features of the different types of community garden efforts across the country. The most shocking part of the book was highlighting the history of how childhood obesity became such an epidemic and literally a matter of national security (seriously!). Mrs. Obama earned her title as the most impactful First Lady by picking a universal issue and taking a hands on approach to rectify it with her Let's Move initiatives. I wish this book wasn't in coffee table format because I think there are a lot of information and lessons to be garnered from it. There is also an audiobook version. However, I really enjoyed the visuals. Again, Michelle Obama withdrawal syndrome is real!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    This is Michelle Obama's story about her wanting to feed her children better and how that evolved into ripping up a plot of ground for a garden when she got to the white house. I liked that part of the story because I LOVE to garden. I also liked that she left politics out of the garden. Yay for that. The middle was more about gardening logistics which wasn't as interesting and it took a little longer to get through. It covered the hows and whys and what to do next and introduces other experts, l This is Michelle Obama's story about her wanting to feed her children better and how that evolved into ripping up a plot of ground for a garden when she got to the white house. I liked that part of the story because I LOVE to garden. I also liked that she left politics out of the garden. Yay for that. The middle was more about gardening logistics which wasn't as interesting and it took a little longer to get through. It covered the hows and whys and what to do next and introduces other experts, like other gardeners, cooks, etc. But then towards the end she finished up with community service and charity organizations that are benefited by local growers and their extras. I loved that part and I liked combing through the recipes....I love looking at recipes. I just wish I had more time for that kind of thing like when I didn't work full time. The photos were colorful and they were also nicely placed. So 3 stars.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ruthie Jones

    I love every single thing about this book! Every.Single.Thing! The story of the White House Kitchen Garden is interesting and inspiring, and the side stories and history really bring everything into focus. Let's create a healthy earth, healthy bodies, healthy families, and healthy communities. It can be done! The section on the honey bee hives is great! I love honey! I also like that the book is broken down by seasons in the White House Kitchen Garden (along with the hits and misses), and how so ma I love every single thing about this book! Every.Single.Thing! The story of the White House Kitchen Garden is interesting and inspiring, and the side stories and history really bring everything into focus. Let's create a healthy earth, healthy bodies, healthy families, and healthy communities. It can be done! The section on the honey bee hives is great! I love honey! I also like that the book is broken down by seasons in the White House Kitchen Garden (along with the hits and misses), and how so many people and groups, including children, have been involved--and all with tasty recipes to try. The last section talks about the horrific trend of how unhealthy lifestyles are leading to more and more health issues and crisis. I was amazed and saddened that the number of people failing to get into the military has skyrocketed due to obesity and general poor health. They can't pass the entrance physical! Additionally, many young adults have brittle bones and rotten teeth before they have hardly begun to live! It's time to take action! I love this book!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Sim

    Excellent read, makes you re-think what you have on your plate and what you think about foods. I am ready to go to more farmer's markets and check out Growing Power. The author does a great job of explaining how times have changed from the old school attitudes towards food. Fruits and vegetables on our children's plates have almost disappeared due to convenience foods, cost, and availability, as well as knowledge of their importance to our health. Thank you Michelle Obama for bringing awareness Excellent read, makes you re-think what you have on your plate and what you think about foods. I am ready to go to more farmer's markets and check out Growing Power. The author does a great job of explaining how times have changed from the old school attitudes towards food. Fruits and vegetables on our children's plates have almost disappeared due to convenience foods, cost, and availability, as well as knowledge of their importance to our health. Thank you Michelle Obama for bringing awareness and knowledge to our homes. As the cliche goes, Knowledge truly equals power.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kolumbina

    A beautiful, beautiful book written by Michelle Obama about establishing her first vegetable garden in White House. It was not only a vegetable garden, there were also fruits and bees/beehives. Michelle Obama admitted that she didn't have any previous experience about growing veggie gardens and she had some concerns about approval of such action. But it all worked well, a lot of people got involved, school children, chefs, White House staff... and it went much further, healthy food with proper f A beautiful, beautiful book written by Michelle Obama about establishing her first vegetable garden in White House. It was not only a vegetable garden, there were also fruits and bees/beehives. Michelle Obama admitted that she didn't have any previous experience about growing veggie gardens and she had some concerns about approval of such action. But it all worked well, a lot of people got involved, school children, chefs, White House staff... and it went much further, healthy food with proper fruit and vegetables was produced and shared not only in White House but also donated to schools, Miriam's Kitchen... The action went much further, schools started to establish vegetable / fruit gardens as a part of education, even only in pots, army, farmer's markets, TV shows... What a rich book with plenty of lovely photographs. Outstanding! Loved the bit about bottling White House produced honey and giving it as a gift to visiting dignitaries and heads of state. Great! Great!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    I found this in my neighborhood little free library- what a treasure! I love gardening, the Obama’s and I learned that they put a beehive in the White House gardens! This was a lovely book- passing it on to my mom before I put it back in our free library for others to enjoy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Carly Friedman

    A lovely reflection on the Obama’s Get Moving initiative, White House garden and the importance of access to fresh produce. Highly recommended!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I was hoping that this book would go in-depth about the White House garden and its planning stages and the maintenance required so that it would inspire others to try planting their own gardens. Unfortunately, this is not what this book is about. Luckily, the First Lady is very charming and enthusiastic, so this book was still enjoyable, because it is actually a primer on her own goals during the administration. Each chapter is named after a season, but the writing is not limited to a seasonal t I was hoping that this book would go in-depth about the White House garden and its planning stages and the maintenance required so that it would inspire others to try planting their own gardens. Unfortunately, this is not what this book is about. Luckily, the First Lady is very charming and enthusiastic, so this book was still enjoyable, because it is actually a primer on her own goals during the administration. Each chapter is named after a season, but the writing is not limited to a seasonal theme (though the plans and pictures of the last year's garden at each season is included, as well as some delicious-looking healthy recipes for that season's produce). Instead, she talks about the White House Garden (Spring), community gardens around the country (Summer), getting children involved and eating better (Fall), and the importance of exercise (Winter). It's mostly superficial and broadly rendered, but Mrs. Obama graciously includes profiles of several people around the country who are making a difference, and the book is a nice starting point since it provides inspiration as well as information on how you can take action.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Candy

    beautiful! Mrs. Obama said she “wanted [her] garden to be more than just a plot of land growing vegetables […], I wanted it to be the starting point for something bigger […] and I hoped this garden would help begin a conversation about this issue, the food we eat, and the lives we lead." <- did I quote that correctly, nope. do I care, definitely not. I think gardening is one of the greatest lessons in patience as it was the first and oldest job on our planet. My forever First Lady enjoys gardeni beautiful! Mrs. Obama said she “wanted [her] garden to be more than just a plot of land growing vegetables […], I wanted it to be the starting point for something bigger […] and I hoped this garden would help begin a conversation about this issue, the food we eat, and the lives we lead." <- did I quote that correctly, nope. do I care, definitely not. I think gardening is one of the greatest lessons in patience as it was the first and oldest job on our planet. My forever First Lady enjoys gardening, healthy living, and giving back to the community. I mean come on?! It's a no brainer, an entire keeper for the shelves.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Zivile

    Through this book I learned that Michelle Obama, actually, didn't cultivate her urban gardens herself, which disappointed me (but I also understand her busy schedule). But her idea to set an example to the country is really amazing. I admire her for that. Through this book I learned that Michelle Obama, actually, didn't cultivate her urban gardens herself, which disappointed me (but I also understand her busy schedule). But her idea to set an example to the country is really amazing. I admire her for that.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Angelle

    I don’t know why this has stuck with me for so long, but I remember when Sen. Cory Booker wished Michelle Obama a happy birthday earlier this year, he said, “I miss Obama…I miss her husband too.” I love that. I picked up a copy of American Grown by Michelle Obama about a week before the election, mostly because I was reminiscing about better times but also trying to send some positivity out into the universe (hey, it worked!). American Grown covers the evolution of the White House Kitchen Garden I don’t know why this has stuck with me for so long, but I remember when Sen. Cory Booker wished Michelle Obama a happy birthday earlier this year, he said, “I miss Obama…I miss her husband too.” I love that. I picked up a copy of American Grown by Michelle Obama about a week before the election, mostly because I was reminiscing about better times but also trying to send some positivity out into the universe (hey, it worked!). American Grown covers the evolution of the White House Kitchen Garden, which, under the First Lady’s leadership and guidance, became more than a place for seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs to grow; it became a conversation starter for the entire country to discuss our health, access to to fresh produce and how we can set the stage for future generations to thrive. I love that she incorporated the voices of everyday heroes from coast to coast, telling the stories of their community gardens, farmers markets, school programs and personal transformations to live happier, healthier lives. It’s such an uplifting book!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    Quite honestly, I just wanted to hear MO's soothing voice and Becoming isn't available yet. BUT she ended up nearly convincing me that YEAH I WANT TO GARDEN even though I really don't have the time/skill/space/motivation for it. And I love how it tied into the Let's Move initiative, which I can't understand why there could have any pushback on (well, I know why, but it's really a cut-nose-off-to-spite-face sort of thing). So she also makes me want to exercise more and eat better. THANKS, MOBAMA Quite honestly, I just wanted to hear MO's soothing voice and Becoming isn't available yet. BUT she ended up nearly convincing me that YEAH I WANT TO GARDEN even though I really don't have the time/skill/space/motivation for it. And I love how it tied into the Let's Move initiative, which I can't understand why there could have any pushback on (well, I know why, but it's really a cut-nose-off-to-spite-face sort of thing). So she also makes me want to exercise more and eat better. THANKS, MOBAMA <3 <3 <3

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kat Coffin

    This was a lovely book. Gorgeous photographs of the White House Kitchen Garden, fascinating insights into the history of White House gardens, lovely gardening tips and healthy, fresh recipes. I found it very inspiring. I've always wanted to learn how to garden and this book provides both inspiration and practical tips for beginners. Michelle Obama was a beginner herself (though I'm sure it helped having a staff of chefs and gardeners who knew what they were doing). I was also interested in readi This was a lovely book. Gorgeous photographs of the White House Kitchen Garden, fascinating insights into the history of White House gardens, lovely gardening tips and healthy, fresh recipes. I found it very inspiring. I've always wanted to learn how to garden and this book provides both inspiration and practical tips for beginners. Michelle Obama was a beginner herself (though I'm sure it helped having a staff of chefs and gardeners who knew what they were doing). I was also interested in reading about her "Let's Move" campaign. It is disappointing that so much of that campaign was hampered by soda and candy lobbies. I wish Ms. Obama had mentioned this.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ying

    Had a great time listening to this quite niche book. If you like Michelle Obama, gardens, the White House garden, hearing about government policy.. you will enjoy this book. I listened to the audiobook read by Michelle Obama herself, interspersed with audio from other figures such as the white house chef and the beekeeper/carpenter guy. Michelle Obama is an excellent narrator and easy to listen to. The only thing I didn't like as much was hearing from other people, haha. The later half of the book Had a great time listening to this quite niche book. If you like Michelle Obama, gardens, the White House garden, hearing about government policy.. you will enjoy this book. I listened to the audiobook read by Michelle Obama herself, interspersed with audio from other figures such as the white house chef and the beekeeper/carpenter guy. Michelle Obama is an excellent narrator and easy to listen to. The only thing I didn't like as much was hearing from other people, haha. The later half of the book seemed very heavy on the "anecdotes from America" theme, with heaps of people talking about how they have been positively impacted by the Let's Move and Healthy Eating (already forgot the name) initiatives that Michelle started. I guess I knew from the outset this book was pretty much a way for her to promote the policies she had championed (the word propaganda is not inappropriate to describe this book), but.. maybe I only needed half the anecdotes I got??? Regardless it was fun listen. Enjoyed all the hot tips about gardening, picking food to buy, storage.. etc. It would do well with a epilogue about how these policies have done 8 years later. I was glad to hear that the kitchen garden still stands.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mark Fallon

    An enjoyable, aspirational book about not just the White House Garden, but the impacts gardens can have on our communities and our diets. Mrs. Obama clearly has a passion for finding ways to have a positive impact on others – and recognizing people who are doing that at the local level.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Leticia

    A sweet and wholesome read and a reminder that there was once goodness and light in the White House and that there can be again one day.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katelyn Vanhaitsma

    My heart longs for the time when the biggest controversy coming out of the White House was a garden, an exercising initiative, and improved school lunches. I took this incredible First Lady for granted. I'm a terrible gardener, and she inspires me to try again. Listening to her speak of growing up and inviting children to garden with White House staff brought tears to my eyes. She spoke of the mistakes they made in the beginning and how they kept building and doing better. I just gave up, and I My heart longs for the time when the biggest controversy coming out of the White House was a garden, an exercising initiative, and improved school lunches. I took this incredible First Lady for granted. I'm a terrible gardener, and she inspires me to try again. Listening to her speak of growing up and inviting children to garden with White House staff brought tears to my eyes. She spoke of the mistakes they made in the beginning and how they kept building and doing better. I just gave up, and I should try again.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Annie Oosterwyk

    Very informative book about community gardens, nutrition and fitness, and how to be an inspirational organizer. Examples of other endeavors throughout the US result in a very positive book. I surely do miss this family!!!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Chris Cathcart

    Part history book, part cookbook, part gardening 101, and all homage to the greatness that is/was/IS-WILL-ALWAYS-BE-MY-FLOTUS, Michelle Obama, American Grown is exactly what you need to read if your American Spirit needs bolstering right now. Pretty sure that's everyone. A great reminder that everything - changes big and small - starts from a tiny seed of an idea. Part history book, part cookbook, part gardening 101, and all homage to the greatness that is/was/IS-WILL-ALWAYS-BE-MY-FLOTUS, Michelle Obama, American Grown is exactly what you need to read if your American Spirit needs bolstering right now. Pretty sure that's everyone. A great reminder that everything - changes big and small - starts from a tiny seed of an idea.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This story was exactly what I expected it to be. Michelle discusses the failures and successes of the White House garden she built (with lots of help). It provides an incredible window into the way the Obama White House operated from staff harvesting & weeding every morning and constant student visitors to state dinners and gifts for foreign leaders full of home-grown yummies. This was a quick, informative read. Great for anyone wanting to start a garden, learn about national gardening projects This story was exactly what I expected it to be. Michelle discusses the failures and successes of the White House garden she built (with lots of help). It provides an incredible window into the way the Obama White House operated from staff harvesting & weeding every morning and constant student visitors to state dinners and gifts for foreign leaders full of home-grown yummies. This was a quick, informative read. Great for anyone wanting to start a garden, learn about national gardening projects or gather some new recipe ideas.

  22. 5 out of 5

    MJ

    Such a positive, uplifting book! Thank you, Mrs. Obama, for all this inspiration! I was especially proud to read about the fresh produce market in Shawnee, OK that I frequent and how much the owners give back to the community (Page 187)! Thank you, Crow Family. I'd never heard of AmpleHarvest before. Thank you for putting me in touch with them. Some of the quotes that I enjoyed are: "The creative process is always enhanced by having a diverse set of minds and a diverse body of knowledge. It's be Such a positive, uplifting book! Thank you, Mrs. Obama, for all this inspiration! I was especially proud to read about the fresh produce market in Shawnee, OK that I frequent and how much the owners give back to the community (Page 187)! Thank you, Crow Family. I'd never heard of AmpleHarvest before. Thank you for putting me in touch with them. Some of the quotes that I enjoyed are: "The creative process is always enhanced by having a diverse set of minds and a diverse body of knowledge. It's been amazing to work with such incredible professionals who are cooking on such a big stage." ~ Sam Kass "Start with small plots, which are more manageable for younger children than large space. A small plot can be weeded and watered more easily by little hands, and small spaces also encourage ownership." ~ Michelle Obama "Today school gardens are making a comeback. Whether it's a few containers in a sunny corner of a concrete school yard or a large square of cultivated land beside school playing fields, school gardens have become outdoor classrooms, teaching everything from science to ecology to history and culture to nutrition. For many students, these gardens are their only chance to learn about where their food actually comes from." Page 137 ~ Michelle Obama This is an eloquent story told by Michelle Obama and so many others about the important of community and how we can work together to be healthier. The photos showed so many people working together to till the soil, plant vegetables, flowers and fruit on the White House grounds and harvest them in the fall. There were downturns which are to be expected and I'm glad that Michelle included those sections too. No one has only successes. The faces of the children were so beautiful and full of energy. The vignettes of different community gardens around the US were touching and inspiring at the same time. It's a nationwide effort to go outside to work and become physically strong again. All of the projects that I'm working on now are included in Michelle's "Let's Move" campaign: to be out in nature and appreciate God's world, to work with others to accomplish a goal, to eat fresh produce and to become healthier. I can't wait to try some of the recipes. I'll keep this book on my cookbook shelf.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    I loved listening to this book. I wish it wasn't the abridged version though. It has certainly made me hungry for some pear tomatoes, and I am wondering if I can still find a pear tomato plant this late in the year! A truly delightful book with great tips and tricks for raising a garden interspersed into the journey they took to create the White House Garden. A must listen/read for anyone who wants to start a garden, and a journey to healthy eating. I loved listening to this book. I wish it wasn't the abridged version though. It has certainly made me hungry for some pear tomatoes, and I am wondering if I can still find a pear tomato plant this late in the year! A truly delightful book with great tips and tricks for raising a garden interspersed into the journey they took to create the White House Garden. A must listen/read for anyone who wants to start a garden, and a journey to healthy eating.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mary Kim

    In April 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama planted a kitchen garden on the White House’s South Lawn. As fresh vegetables, fruit, and herbs sprouted from the ground, this White House Kitchen Garden inspired a new conversation all across the country about the food we feed our families and the impact it has on the health and well-being of our children. Now, in her first-ever book, American Grown, Mrs. Obama invites you inside the White House Kitchen Garden and shares its inspiring story, from the fi In April 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama planted a kitchen garden on the White House’s South Lawn. As fresh vegetables, fruit, and herbs sprouted from the ground, this White House Kitchen Garden inspired a new conversation all across the country about the food we feed our families and the impact it has on the health and well-being of our children. Now, in her first-ever book, American Grown, Mrs. Obama invites you inside the White House Kitchen Garden and shares its inspiring story, from the first planting to the latest harvest. Hear about her worries as a novice gardener – would the new plants even grow? Learn about her struggles and her joys as lettuce, corn, tomatoes, collards and kale, sweet potatoes and rhubarb flourished in the freshly tilled soil. Get an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at every season of the garden’s growth, with striking original photographs that bring its story to life. Try the unique recipes created by White House chefs and made with ingredients just picked from the White House garden. And learn from the White House Garden team about how you can help plant your own backyard, school or community garden. Mrs. Obama’s journey continues across the nation as she shares the stories of other gardens that have moved and inspired her: Houston office workers who make the sidewalk bloom; a New York City School that created a scented garden for the visually impaired; a North Carolina garden that devotes its entire harvest to those in need; and other stories of communities that are transforming the lives and health of their citizens. In American Grown, Mrs. Obama tells the story of the White House Kitchen Garden, celebrates the bounty of gardens across our nation, and reminds us all of what we can grow together.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Karah

    I love Michelle Obama and I love gardening so when I saw this book at the library, I was excited to pick it up and look though it. I honestly didn't know what to expect-- sometimes the books with the best covers and subjects just don't end up being worth the time. But, I am happy to report that this one was a fun, perfect for summer, light read. Mrs. Obama's book spends a bit of time going through the history of gardens at the White House. She points out Presidents who were especially avid garde I love Michelle Obama and I love gardening so when I saw this book at the library, I was excited to pick it up and look though it. I honestly didn't know what to expect-- sometimes the books with the best covers and subjects just don't end up being worth the time. But, I am happy to report that this one was a fun, perfect for summer, light read. Mrs. Obama's book spends a bit of time going through the history of gardens at the White House. She points out Presidents who were especially avid gardeners and what they did to place their thumbprint on the South Lawn of the White House. I found it really interesting to learn about which Presidents had a green thumb in addition to their political aspirations! Then she talks of her dream to have a garden at the White House with the intention of fully utilizing it in their meals and also to serve an educational purpose for school children. She divides the book up into seasons and then walks us through the tasks of that particular season. The last portion of the book discusses childhood obesity and ways implementing a community or school garden could possibly help fight obesity. She peppers the book with historical tidbits, stories of cities that cultivated successful community gardens, people who have found a passion for growing and delivering healthy food to those without access to healthy food. This keeps the book light and interesting. I especially loved learning about the White House honey bees-- the first bee hive to take up residency on the South Lawn. I also found the recipes at the back of the book interesting and will write a few down before returning this one to the library.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Traci Kismarton

    Following the recent elections, I am reading everything I can about the people that are highlighted most frequently for being a part of the world of Politics. I particularly want to read about these people from their own point of view, in an attempt to eliminate as much media bias as possible. This is not a particularly politically driven book, but it was still an interesting view of Michelle Obama. This was such a great reminder that in spite of living under the microscope of the public eye, th Following the recent elections, I am reading everything I can about the people that are highlighted most frequently for being a part of the world of Politics. I particularly want to read about these people from their own point of view, in an attempt to eliminate as much media bias as possible. This is not a particularly politically driven book, but it was still an interesting view of Michelle Obama. This was such a great reminder that in spite of living under the microscope of the public eye, these politicians (and their families) are still just people. Rather than discussing her political view point, Michelle Obama discusses two things that she is very obviously passionate about: children's health, and gardening. This book was a bit boring but I thought it was beautiful how obvious the passion behind the words is. This is a woman who believes in health and believes in real food. She loves her family, and her dog, and the people around her. Overall a great read and a passionate woman.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rachna

    "It all starts with a seed." Michelle Obama has proven why she's one of my favorite people. Her casual observations about the way food habits have changed from her parents' to children's' time are spot-on, revealing something greater than anticipated. Here, she becomes determined to launch a national movement to help positively change our country. What Mrs. Obama says is incredibly true- healthy food and healthy lifestyles allow people to perform to the best of their abilities. To make the book "It all starts with a seed." Michelle Obama has proven why she's one of my favorite people. Her casual observations about the way food habits have changed from her parents' to children's' time are spot-on, revealing something greater than anticipated. Here, she becomes determined to launch a national movement to help positively change our country. What Mrs. Obama says is incredibly true- healthy food and healthy lifestyles allow people to perform to the best of their abilities. To make the book even more fascinating, Obama discusses the rich history of gardening in the White House! By sharing the White House Garden's successes and failures, the types of crops planted during certain seasons, and the involvement of the DC community, she delivers hope that the smallest saplings will grow into something impactful- whether in a meal for the First Family or one created in our very own homes.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I found this at the library by chance and I'm so glad I picked it up. I started the book hoping that I would gain greater insight to be able to start my own vegetable garden and I finished it amazed by just how incredibly thoughtful, authentic and impactful her work was as First Lady was. Who knew that she was the first one to grow a vegetable garden at the WH since WWII? Wow. I found this at the library by chance and I'm so glad I picked it up. I started the book hoping that I would gain greater insight to be able to start my own vegetable garden and I finished it amazed by just how incredibly thoughtful, authentic and impactful her work was as First Lady was. Who knew that she was the first one to grow a vegetable garden at the WH since WWII? Wow.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    I enjoyed this book about the White House Kitchen Garden. A brief history of gardens at the White House begins with John Adams (bummer to plant a garden and then not be reelected). I really liked the tidy diagrams showing the crop layout for each season--there are a few “Thomas Jefferson” beds planted with seeds/cuttings obtained from Monticello--and the stories of local children who help with planting and come back for the harvest. Community and school gardens, past and present, are discussed i I enjoyed this book about the White House Kitchen Garden. A brief history of gardens at the White House begins with John Adams (bummer to plant a garden and then not be reelected). I really liked the tidy diagrams showing the crop layout for each season--there are a few “Thomas Jefferson” beds planted with seeds/cuttings obtained from Monticello--and the stories of local children who help with planting and come back for the harvest. Community and school gardens, past and present, are discussed in another section. The book concludes with a few recipes from the White House chefs. Bonus: the beautiful photography includes many adorable Bo shots – he loves the garden. The book left me with a strong sense of respect for the traditions of the White House and the community of gardeners through time.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Raven

    Lacking a garden myself (city apartment living will do that to you), I was interested to read about Michelle Obama and the White House garden. The book is more outreach-oriented than it is full of details for the permaculture-minded gardener. There are lots of lovingly detailed pictures of the garden, its produce, and the people who came together to work on it. I'd been hoping for some deeper insight into why particular crops were and weren't chosen, which ones worked and which ones failed (besi Lacking a garden myself (city apartment living will do that to you), I was interested to read about Michelle Obama and the White House garden. The book is more outreach-oriented than it is full of details for the permaculture-minded gardener. There are lots of lovingly detailed pictures of the garden, its produce, and the people who came together to work on it. I'd been hoping for some deeper insight into why particular crops were and weren't chosen, which ones worked and which ones failed (besides that one little bit about the pumpkins), and what the soil is like at the White House. This is not that book. However, it is a perfectly fine book for what it does -- I liked the features of other gardens and community farms throughout the US, including a couple that are close to me here. Cooks will probably like the recipes.

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