Nearly 1,000 Chefs Answer First Lady ‘s Call to Adopt Local Schools

The White House Garden, June 4, 2010

The White House Garden, June 4, 2010

History was made Friday in Washington, DC as hundreds of chefs from more than 37 states descended on the South Lawn of the White House in hopes of accomplishing one thing — bringing an end to childhood obesity. Each of these gastronomical experts answered the call of First Lady Michelle Obama to adopt a school in their community and share their knowledge and passion for food. The Chefs Move to Schools program, a project of the First Lady’s Let’s Move campaign, was conceived by White House Assistant Chef Sam Kass, the man behind the White House garden. So far, Kass says almost 1,000 chefs have signed up to be a part of the ambitious initiative.

Perhaps one of the most famous volunteers to take part in the event was celebrity-chef Rachel Ray. Ray has long championed the fight against childhood obesity. In 2006, she launched her own non-profit organization, Yum-O!, designed to “empower kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking.” Not afraid to get her hands dirty, Ray joined the First Lady, fellow chefs and students from a nearby elementary school in harvesting veggies from the White House garden. Graciously, Ray took a few moments to answer a few questions from me.

Coming up soon, complete coverage of the Chefs Move to Schools program and more inspiring words from the First Lady, Sam Kass and several other trailblazing chefs from Maryland to Haiti

Farmers Market on Penn Ave?

At the Organizing for America National Health Care forum on Tuesday, President Obama surprised listeners with a new idea: host a farmers market right outside the White House.

“One of the things that we’re trying to do now is to figure out, can we get a little farmers’ market — outside of the White House — I’m not going to have all of you all just tromping around inside — (laughter) — but right outside the White House — (laughter) — so that — so that we can — and — and — and that is a win-win situation.”

In just a few days, the topic has sprouted up all over the net. Here are the LFB Top 5 reactions and summaries to the President’s market ambition.

1. Obama Foodorama, one of our favorite food blogs around, wrote about Obama’s comment and gave readers a short history lesson. Did you know Thomas Jefferson was credited with turning the earliest D.C. Farmers Markets into what they are now?

2. Our friends over at Grist ran the entire Q&A exchange so we could get the full context of his comment: “Obama Wants to Set Up White House Farmers Market.”

2. The Huffington Post’s Green Blog struck up quite a dialogue with over 90 comments on their story, “Obama Talks Up Local Foods, School Lunches, And Setting Up a Farmers Market Outside the White House.”

3. Jane Black, author of All We Can Eat, reported the news for readers of the Washington Post.com.

4. The White House Organic Farm Project jumped on the story and posted a transcript of the President’s remarks here.  The WHOFarm guys are driving their WhoFarmMobile vehicle (you have to see this to believe it) , across the country to raise awareness about TheWhoFarm mission and petition.

5.  Finally, Food First, whether in reaction to the comment or not, posted information that claims Farmers’ Markets in the U.S. are on the rise.