Photo Credit: Crown
Michelle Obama. Mother. Wife. Former executive. First Lady. And now add author to that impressive list. Her first-ever book, expected in bookstores in April of next year, chronicles the creation of the White House Kitchen Garden, the first such garden on the South Lawn since Eleanor Roosevelt planted her own "Victory Garden" during World War II.
iVillage got an exclusive sneak peak of the book’s cover photo, which is pictured above (isn’t it lovely?) and the title -- American Grown: How the White House Kitchen Garden Inspires Families, Schools and Communities. We didn’t know about the book when we had the chance to talk with Mrs. Obama last week at the White House, along with a small group of other online reporters, but we did talk about the garden. The First Lady told us how she receives letters at the White House from children who want to hear about the garden and want to see it. “We’ve heard so many great stories from kids who’ve been inspired and doing things like changing the way their families do things,” she said.
In the book, the First Lady is expected to share her family’s story about how a pediatrician’s concern years ago -- before the Obamas moved to the White House -- about changes in their daughters' BMI (Body Mass Index) prompted the Obamas to get rid of processed foods, sweets and juice boxes. “It was really we just substituted real food for processed food,” the First Lady said at the White House. “That was really the major difference. So grape juice was actually juice from a grape,” she said to laughter, “which was pretty cool."
Created in 2009, the White House Kitchen Garden is a vegetarian’s dream filled with eggplant, squash, basil, lemongrass, and brussels sprouts and much more. At a personal and private tour of the impressive garden, White House Assistant Chef Sam Kass told us the story of a young girl, maybe 10 or 11, who had never seen or eaten cauliflower before but was found “stuffing” her face with a “giant” piece of raw cauliflower without any dressing on the side. The experience, he said, of harvesting the vegetable made her so excited she practically inhaled it. How great if we could get all our kids to do the same!
The book will provide ideas on how to create community, school and urban gardens, how to support farmers’ markets and how to make changes in households to eat more homegrown food, according to the White House. Plus there will be recipes -- maybe even cauliflower macaroni and cheese that I learned about at the White House last week -- and tips on how anyone, anywhere, can create a garden.
Mrs. Obama is not receiving any advance for the book, according to the publisher, Crown Publishers, an imprint of Random House, Inc.’s Crown Publishing Group. The First Lady will be donating all after-tax proceeds from the sale of the book to a charity or charities to be named later.
Bravo to Mrs. Obama for taking on the cause of combating childhood obesity and encouraging all of us to eat as much homegrown food as we possibly can. And congratulations also on giving the president some competition when it comes to being the most popular author in the family!