That’s right! The Grow It Eat It team was invited, by name, to promote food gardening to the 35,000 guests from around the nation at the White House 134th Annual Easter Egg Roll on April 9, 2012. The UME/GIEI table was positioned adjacent to Mrs. Obama’s vegetable garden and near the stage where celebrity chefs prepared healthy foods with fresh ingredients from the garden.
Mrs. Obama assisted New York Chef Marcus Samuelsson in preparing shrimp and vegetable tacos for a few young fans. Unfortunately, she had places to go and people to see so she didn’t hang around the garden area for very long.
White House Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses invited us into Mrs. Obama’s garden for a personal tour. Unfortunately, there was a pastry emergency that needed his attention. He graciously posed for a picture with Jon Traunfeld and Ria Malloy, but had to bid a hasty retreat.
Children got to practice planting seeds in a garden tray and got up close and personal with stink bugs using hand lenses while their parents grilled Jon on a variety of gardening topics. Actually, several parents differed to their children as the vegetable gardeners in the family.
At the end of a very long day we were energized by the visitor’s enthusiasm in food gardening and healthy eating. We wish to extend our sincere appreciation and thanks to Charlie Brandts, Howard County beekeeper and White House carpenter, and Carol Links, Howard County beekeeper and Master Gardener. They cleared the way for the Grow It Eat It team to get their collective feet in the door for this special event. We hope it will be the first invitation of many to come!