Today I read Michelle Obama’s book American Grown; The Storyof the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America. It is a good American garden history and service garden philosophy primer. Michelle Obama has made healthy eating and healthy lifestyles the center-piece of her public policy efforts and this book showcases both.
It was interesting to hear how former Presidents and first ladies made their mark on the White House grounds. In addition, the discussion about where to site the new kitchen garden and what to plant is appreciated by this gardener (and designer); as these considerations are oft-overlooked.
The subjects and their presentation are worthwhile to novice and master gardener alike. My favorite portion of the book introduced the White House’s first beehive and beekeeper. The honey is also part of gift baskets that contain pickled vegetables, loose tea, and seedlings from the garden given to foreign dignitaries such as Prince Charles.
Aside from White House history and bees, American Grown also shares gardens plans, tons of images, personal stories, and recipes inspired by the garden and White House chefs. Other areas of focus include community gardens, service gardens, farmer’s markets, school gardens, and the ‘Let’sMove!’ program.
I would recommend this book for anyone interested in gardening, history, or Michelle Obama; never have I seen a more stylishly-dressed gardener getting their hands dirty. Two other reasons to read this book: Michelle Obama’s initiatives are ones we should all support for our country’s health, and author proceeds from this book will support the National Park Foundation.