Green Day: Michelle Obama’s “American Grown” Celebrates Gardens

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    First Lady Michelle Obama keeps a pretty busy schedule as First Lady, probably doing more before sunrise than most of us do in a whole day. But she’s managed to write a #1 New York Times bestseller, “American Grown: The Story of The White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America,” a gorgeously photographed coffee table book about the development of the White House garden and other gardens that have inspired her. She hopes that the book encourages others to start growing their own food, especially given the health benefits of doing so. Like other moms around the country, Mrs. Obama is planning to spend Mother’s Day having a quiet dinner at home with her mother, First Grandmother Marian Robinson, her daughters, Malia and Sasha, and her husband, President Barack Obama. She told The Tom Joyner Morning Show that although the meal has not yet been planned, it will include vegetables, but for her mother, those vegetables won’t be on the table without some fried chicken. Here are more excerpts from Mrs. Obama’s conversation with the TJMS.

    TOM JOYNER:  Before I start, Happy Mother’s Day to you and Miss Robinson.

    MRS. OBAMA: Thank you so much, Tom.  Thank you so much. I will pass that along to Grandma.

    Sybil: First Grandma.

    Mrs. Obama: She is doing just fine.  She is doing her thing.  She is happy and healthy.  She gets out.  She has her little lunches.  She has got a little crew of ladies here that she will meet with.  So she is doing just fine.

    Tom: She has got an old school jam session on Friday night?

    Mrs. Obama:  Absolutely.  (Laughter.)

    TJMS: The new book — “American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America” — number one on the New York Times bestseller list.  Congratulations.

    Mrs. Obama:  Thank you so much. It’s my very first book and I’m so proud of it.  We decided to write the book to tell the story of the White House kitchen garden — how it got started, why we started it.  It’s a book full of beautiful pictures, because my intent was that we would share the garden with the country and the world.  There are many people who don’t get a chance to visit Washington, come to the White House. But this is a way for people who are unable to come and see it in person to get a taste of what it’s all about, to see the beauty of it — to get some candid shots.

    TJMS: It is very beautiful.

    Mrs. Obama: But it’s also — we tell the story of other community gardens as well, all across the country.

    Tom: Now, in some of these shots I noticed that Bo is posing with you.  And I was wondering if this was photoshopped, because if I remember that dog is kind of wild and I could just see a dog like Bo digging up all those rutabagas, the radishes.  (Laughter.)

    Mrs. Obama: Actually, I think you misunderstand Bo. He is actually a very calm, peaceful dog.

    TJMS: He calmed down?

    Mrs. Obama: Well, he is an adult dog now. When you first saw him, he was a puppy.  And he is now four.  So he is really good with the garden.  He spends more time in the garden than me, because he actually goes out every day with the gardening team, the National Park Service people.  He is out there every day at work like he is one of the boys.

    Tom: Is that right?

    Mrs. Obama: He actually will not speak to me when he is with his fellas. He kind of looks over like, yo, mom, I’m working.  (Laughter.)  So he is very used to being around the garden. And he is really good.  He walks through the path. He doesn’t cut through the beds. He doesn’t dig up anything.

    Tom: And your garden outfit is a little different from what I’m used to, but I’m from the country.

    Mrs. Obama: But I am the First Lady.  (Laughter.)  I can’t just –

    Tom:  You can’t put on the flop hat with the little visor and the gloves?  (Laughter.)

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