At the same time President Obama highlighted recovery efforts in New Jersey Tuesday, First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed schoolchildren from the storm-ravaged state and elsewhere around the country to harvest the summer crop from the White House Kitchen Garden.
Schoolchildren from Union Beach Memorial School and Long Beach Island Grade School, -- located in Union Beach and Ship Bottom, N.J., respectively -- joined kids who helped plant crops in the vegetable garden in April. On Tuesday, they harvested radishes, garlic and lettuce.
"Now, we’ve got some new friends here from schools in New Jersey, because today the president, he left me to go to your state to visit with your governor," Obama explained. "And we thought, well, since he’s going to be there, wouldn’t it be good to have some schools from New Jersey here with us."
Superstorm Sandy displaced students of Union Beach Memorial School, who must now attend school in other locations while their building undergoes repairs. In the meantime, however, volunteers have planted herb and vegetable beds at the school that the students will be able to use once they return.
The Long Beach Island Grade School students, who range from third- to sixth-graders, have been attending their sister school, the Ethel A. Jacobsen Elementary School, which is pre-K through second grade. The Long Beach Island Grade School, which teaches kids about healthy eating and samples food from home-grown crops at the Ethel A. Jacobsen Elementary School, won the HealthierUS School Challenge award in March of 2013.
In addition to the New Jersey schoolchildren, all the students who helped plant the garden in April -- who hail from Somerville, Mass.; Knox County, Tenn.; Milton, Vt.; and Washington, D.C. -- were headed back to the garden this afternoon.
After making some brief remarks, the First Lady urged the kids to start gardening. "All right, let’s move!" she exhorted them. "Let’s move! We’re moving!"
The First Lady has used the vegetable garden on the South Lawn to promote healthy eating and featured it in a coffee-table book, tilted "American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America."