You have to hand it to Michelle Obama. The First Lady is trying her best to get the country on the road to eating healthier. She started the "Let's Move!" campaign to get people to adopt healthier lifestyles. The White House staff is on a diet. And she even planted a White House garden. Now, she has a new book out, American Grown. Obama has been raising greens on the South Lawn and she says that the garden is so famous that people all over the world ask her about it. If her book can accomplish anything, perhaps it's to inspire us all to at least TRY to grow our own food. Let's face it, there is nothing healthier than eating what you yourself cultivate.
Home grown veggies not only taste better, but you don't have to worry about pesticides, hormones, and all of that nasty stuff. PLUS, you really get a sense of accomplishment cooking with something you've tended yourself. It can be a great way to bond with your kids too. On Good Morning America, Michelle Obama mentions how the children who come to help with the garden light up at the prospect of digging around in some dirt.
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When I was growing up, I ate garden vegetables almost every night, since my great-grandfather tended a large garden on the land where we lived. I liked to help him, too. But, like a lot people, as I grew up and got busy with a career and moved into an urban area where I didn't own a plot of land, home-grown anything didn't make it to my mouth very often.
Finally, I got my chance when I moved into a house in Brooklyn that had a small backyard. I decided I would grow my favorite veggie, tomatoes. Plus, I figured that would be easy. Little did I know that that patch of Brooklyn contained superpower soil. The stalks grew at least eight feet high. They were like NBA stalks. Jolly Green Giant stalks. I had to buy wooden poles from Home Depot and tie the stalks to them. And then, one day, along came a wind storm. And blew all my stalks down. Boo. At least I tried.
That, I confess, was the last time I attempted to grow things I could eat (or pretty much anything else). But I do buy lots of fresh produce at farmers' markets and co-ops. You can just taste the difference, can't you? Maybe next time I try my hand at food I've nurtured into existence, I'll aim a little lower. Like some sprouts or parsley. Something that can come to life on a fire escape.
Do you grow your own vegetables?
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