|Rhanaja Foy, Laniya Barchue, Monica Noyola-Mendez, Jordyn Reid|
In her new book, First Lady Michelle Obama writes about a garden at Kimberley Park Elementary School that fourth-grade girls and their mothers planted in 2010.
Obama’s book American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America went on sale on May 29. The section called “Gardens of Service, Winston-Salem, North Carolina,” mentions several gardens in Winston-Salem. Here’s what it says about the one at Kimberley Park:
“Here six fourth-grade girls and their mothers began working in two small plots to grow tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, peppers, beans and okra. During those hours of planting, weeding, and watering, they talked, listened, and laughed, sharing stories and advice and reminding us that gardens don’t just connect us to our land and our food, but to each other.”
Amber Baker, the principal at Kimberley Park, said that being included in the book is wonderful for the school and for the girls in particular.
“It’s just huge,” she said. “They will go through their middle school and life with a huge morale booster. As a principal, I am certainly proud that she chose to focus on the work we are doing at the school.”
Obama is an advocate for eating healthy foods and exercising, and American Grown includes advice for parents, schools, cities and states on how to combat obesity by starting gardens, getting children to enjoy eating healthy foods and finding more ways for exercise. She also writes about the garden initiative she began in 2009 that included planting a fruit and vegetable garden on the White House lawn, the first such garden planted at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt's Victory Garden.
Girls and mothers at Kimberley Park continue to tend a garden at the school, and produce from the garden has been distributed in the neighborhood around the school and donated to the Samaritan Soup Kitchen.
The garden was planted as part of the Mothers and Daughters: 2gether we CAN! Project established by the Maya Angelou Institute for the Improvement of Child and Family Education at Winston-Salem State University to help strengthen the bonds between mothers and daughters. A grant from the Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem provided the necessary money.
The project also included other approaches to good health dear to Obama, including the importance of healthy eating and exercise. Although funding for the project has ended, Baker has kept the garden going, and she is working to find additional grant money. She would like to expand the program to include sons and fathers.