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Michelle Obama's White House Kitchen Garden Preserved with $2.5 Million Grant

Tim Sloan / Getty

First Lady Michelle Obama commemorated the White House Kitchen Garden on Wednesday. Obama unveiled plans to make it a more permanent fixture, thanks in part to a large donation. She hopes that the garden will continue on once her husband leaves office.

In 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama planted a White House Kitchen Garden in the South Lawn. That garden has grown over the eight years the Obamas have resided in the White House. Originally 1,100 square feet, it eventually was expanded to 2,800 square feet. Its bounty of vegetables and produce is used by White House chefs for everyday meals and state dinners alike. The garden is an example of the Obamas' commitment to food issues, specifically ending the childhood obesity epidemic. 

The creator of the Let's Move! and MyPlate initiatives, the First Lady has been vocal about America's need to change its diet. A large part of goal involves teaching children where their food comes from, which is why home and school gardens, just like the one at the White House, are an integral part of her message. 

At the event, Obama revealed a newly installed arbor, benches, and picnic table around the garden. Alongside these new fixtures, she placed a commemorative stone that reads "WHITE HOUSE KITCHEN GARDEN established in 2009 by First Lady Michelle Obama with the hope of growing a healthier nation for our children.”

Also announced today, the Burpee Foundation and the W. Atlee Burpee Company donated $2.5 million dollars to the National Park Foundation in order to maintain and preserve the White House Kitchen Garden after the Obamas leave the White House.

"The South Lawn vegetables, fruits, and herbs inspire people across the country to eat locally, mindfully, and healthfully," said George Ball, chairman and CEO of the W. Atlee Burpee Company in a statement. "Burpee is proud to continue our long history of inspiring gardeners by supporting the White House Kitchen Garden in one of America's treasured national parks."

Thursday, the First Lady will gather with school children for a her final harvesting of her beloved garden.