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Michelle Obama Harvests WH Veggie Patch

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
First Lady Michelle Obama and students from Bancroft Elementary School came together Tuesday afternoon to harvest the White House's vegetable garden.

"Today is the culmination of a lot of hard work," Obama said in a speech to the students.

The students not only picked vegetables from the garden, but joined the first lady and White House chefs in the kitchen to prepare a meal from the produce. Obama is seen splitting peas with some students.

Planted back in March, the South Lawn garden provides organic vegetables for the first family, as well as formal dinners. According to Obama, the garden is also a "fun and interesting way" to teach children about nutrition and eating healthy.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
"The planting of this garden was one of the first things I wanted to do as first lady at the White House," she told the students, adding: "You helped make this dream a reality."

In her comments, Obama discussed the importance of regulating diet in order to eat healthy. She said that nearly one third of all children are obese and that roughly the same percentage will eventually have diabetes. She said "those numbers are unacceptable."

The first lady also said that medical experts predict that the current generation of children will live shorter lives than their parents due to dietary factors. Talking about her own life growing up, Obama said that eating habits have changed "substantially since I was a little girl."

"When I was growing up, fast food was a rarity," she said. "It was a special treat and we had to beg for it. Eating out was a luxury."

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Obama also said that "limited access" to nutritious foods "is often a barrier to a healthy diet." Many people around the country, she said, rely on inadequate sources such as gas stations and convenience stores for grocery needs.

Additionally, she told the students the USDA feeds 30 million subsidized meals to children each year. Because these meals are their primary source of nutrition, Obama said "we need to improve the quality and nutrition of food in schools."

Students at Bancroft Elementary helped build and harvest the garden while learning about health and nutrition. Obama said these children have not only made an effort to eat healthier, they have educated their parents as well.

"This garden project has given us the opportunity not just to educate the children, but educate a few adults along the way," Obama said.

Christening the children her "little ambassadors," Obama called on them to lead the way by educating their friends, family and other Americans about healthier eating.

After her speech, the first lady led students to eat the products of the day. Obama is seen serving the children the vegetables they planted and harvested in the White House's South Lawn.

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