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Milton students meet the first lady - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Milton students meet the first lady

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WASHINGTON -

It may not be planting season in Vermont just yet, but in the nation's capital spring has sprung and that means it's time to plant some seeds.

"I'm just excited," Nolan Deep said.

And who best to help? Cassie Allen, Will Muzzy, Nolan Deep, Hannah Svenson and Sara Schmoll.

Reporter Bridget Barry Caswell: What are you nervous about?

Will Muzzy: I guess meeting Michelle Obama.

The five fifth-graders from Milton Elementary School couldn't be happier to toil in the garden, not when it's the White House Kitchen Garden and the planter in chief is first lady Michelle Obama.

"She is one of the most-- well, the most powerful woman in the country," Nolan noted.

There are not too many kids who get to garden with the first lady of the United States. They spent about an hour planting seeds and getting dirty alongside Mrs. Obama. It's a very large L-shaped garden on the South Lawn of the White House. The children from Vermont were joined by fifth-graders from three other states. The Milton group was selected because of their essays on healthy eating, and the innovative changes the district has made to its school lunch program.

The first lady has invited school children to help her plant for five years now. It's part of her Let's Move campaign to promote healthy eating, and put an end to the rising epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States. And by the looks of this garden, she needs some extra hands.

"We plant all kinds of things," said Sam Kass, the White House chef. "So in the spring we have a lot of peas, spinach, kale, lettuces, that sort of thing. Then in the summer we'll move into the peppers, tomatoes and squashes, all the great summer products."

Bridget Barry Caswell: Do the Obamas have any favorites? Any special requests from the garden at all?

Sam Kass: Well, we eat a lot of kale, so we're growing more and more kale.

There have been other White House gardens, dating back to the first one planted in 1800 by the second president of the United States, John Adams, and first lady Abigail Adams. But this garden on the South Lawn is the largest ever.

"Milton Elementary School from Milton, Vermont. Woo-hoo! Party on!" Mrs. Obama said.

Some of the produce also goes to the local soup kitchen and the food bank organization.

For Milton's food service director, Steve Marinelli, the opportunity to participate in Michelle Obama's effort to promote good health is gratifying.

"I just thanked her very much. I thanked her for getting our blog on her website. And that it was a lifetime experience for myself and the children from Milton, Vermont," Marinelli said.

As for the kids from Vermont?

"Eat healthy and grow good foods," Will Muzzy said.

A lesson outside the classroom these kids won't soon forget.

And in an exclusive interview, first lady Michelle Obama opened up to Bridget Barry Caswell about how she gets her own daughters to eat healthy. She also talked about how healthy foods are not always affordable. Watch the video to see the full interview.

Mrs. Obama says broccoli is a favorite of her family.

From the White House: Remarks by the First Lady at Kitchen Garden Planting Event

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