Charlie Brandts Shows Off the White House’s Busy Bees.

The White House has posted a gorgeous photo that speaks for itself, especially at full resolution…so blow it up! This caption is helpful, but perhaps in need of a correction, according to some of the Flickr comments:

Charlie Brandts, a White House carpenter as well as beekeeper, collects the first batch of honey from the beehives on the South Lawn of the White House, June 10, 2009. (Official White House Photographer Lawrence Jackson)

In case you missed it, a few weeks ago White House Assistant Chef and Food Initiative Coordinator Sam Kass gave Philadelphia Phillies star Ryan Howard a tour of the White House Kitchen Garden and Bee Hive.

As expected, Obama Foodorama has more on the bees:  A Bee-youtiful Thing: The First Honey Harvest From The White House Bee Hive.

More of Lawrence Jackson’s pre-Obama stunning images are here.

Obamas launch Summer of Service…Community Gardening and Feeding America’s Hungry Toolkits Available Now!

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On Monday, Michelle Obama launched United We Serve, the administration’s nationwide Summer of Service initiative.  Many forms of community service will be facilitated by this initiative.   Perhaps most appealing to visitors to TheWhoFarm are toolkits for Community Gardening and Feeding America’s Hungry projects.  If you are already planning a project and want to recruit more volunteers, you can also register it on  Please let us know if you join in!


The President has said that the challenges America faces are unprecedented, and that we need to build a new foundation for economic growth in America. The Administration has begun this work with dramatic new investments in education, health care and clean energy, but we cannot do this alone here in Washington. Economic recovery is as much about what you’re doing in your communities as what we’re doing in Washington – and it’s going to take all of us, working together. is your online resource for not only finding volunteer opportunities in your community, but also creating your own. Use to help you do your part. America’s foundation will be built one community at a time – and it starts with you.

“United We Serve” is a nationwide service initiative that will help meet growing social needs resulting from the economic downturn. With the knowledge that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things when given the proper tools, President Obama is asking us to come together to help lay a new foundation for growth. This initiative aims to both expand the impact of existing organizations by engaging new volunteers in their work and encourage volunteers to develop their own “do-it-yourself” projects. United We Serve is an initial 81 days of service but will grow into a sustained, collaborative and focused effort to promote service as a way of life for all Americans.

(First Lady Michelle Obama promotes the White House’s United We Serve volunteering initiative at the Bret Harte Elementary School in San Francisco, California with Maria Shriver, First Lady of California, June 22, 2003. Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

White House Garden Harvest Party!

Less than three months after the White House Kitchen Garden groundbreaking, here and a few weeks after the First Lady visited Bancroft Elementary School to help plant cucumbers and peppers, the Bancroft kids were back at the White House on Tuesday for the official White House Garden Harvest Party.

According to White House assistant chef and White House Food Initiative Coordinator Sam Kass, the kids helped to harvest a yield of 73 pounds of lettuce and 12 pounds of peas. They munched in the garden, and then some of the student went to the kitchen to prepare a healthy homegrown meal, which they ate with the First Lady.

The First Lady also addressed the students, discussing the past, present, and future of the White House Kitchen Garden and the garden’s connection to the broad spectrum of food policy initiatives.

Here is a brief excerpt:

The planting of this garden was one of the first things I wanted to do as First Lady here at the White House. It was something I had talked about a long time ago. And with the help of you guys, you helped to make this dream a reality. And as you could see when we went down to the garden, can you imagine how thriving that garden is, just how much food grew from a few little seeds and some plantings? So this was a big dream of mine for a while, and it’s been so much fun working with you all.

But I also thought that this would be a fun and interesting way to talk to kids about healthy eating and nutrition. The President and Congress are going to begin to address health care reform, and these issues of nutrition and wellness and preventative care is going to be the focus of a lot of conversation coming up in the weeks and months to come. And these are issues that I care deeply about, especially when they affect America’s children.

You can read the First Lady’s entire remarks here and the White House blog post here.

There’s plenty of good coverage across the internet including
Young Eaters Mind Their Peas & Cues: First Lady Hopes Lessons Of Gardening Take Root by Jane Black, Washington Post
Harvest time at Michelle Obama’s garden by Dave Cook, Christian Science Monitor
And of course the prolific Obama Foodorama, which has four tasty posts on the Harvest Party:
Lettuce Leaves and Harvesting Dreams: The Bancroft Kids’ Final Visit To The White House Kitchen Garden
The Cupcakes From The White House Kitchen Garden Harvest Picnic
First Lady Michelle Obama Becomes The New Leader Of America’s Food Movement: The First Lady At The Top of The Food Chain
The Recipes For The White House Kitchen Garden Harvest Picnic

Finally, please don’t forget to thank Mrs. Obama for her incredibly inspiring garden project!

President Obama makes first remarks on the health benefits of eating veggies.

Yesterday in Chicago, anemia President Barack Obama delivered a speech on healthcare reform at the Annual Conference of the American Medical Association.

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Fast forward the video to the 17 minute 20 second mark to catch these two paragraphs (excerpted below.)  They mark the first time the President has publicly discussed some of the benefits of healthy eating in the context of the White House Kitchen Garden.  And  perhaps there was no better audience than stewards of our health with whom to introduce the garden into his public policy dialogue.

The second step that we can all agree on is to invest more in preventive care so we can avoid illness and disease in the first place. (Applause.) That starts with each of us taking more responsibility for our health and for the health of our children. (Applause.) It means quitting smoking. It means going in for that mammogram or colon cancer screening. It means going for a run or hitting the gym, and raising our children to step away from the video games and spend more time playing outside. (Applause.)

It also means cutting down on all the junk food that’s fueling an epidemic of obesity — (applause) — which puts far too many Americans, young and old, at greater risk of costly, chronic conditions. That’s a lesson Michelle and I have tried to instill in our daughters. As some of you know, we started a White House vegetable garden. I say “we” generously, because Michelle has done most of the work. (Laughter.) That’s a lesson that we should work with local school districts to incorporate into their school lunch programs.

We look forward to hearing more of President Obama’s thoughts on the garden as time marches on…and perhaps he’ll even have some time to weed.

Don’t forget to thank the First Lady for planting such an incredible, inspirational garden!

(Photo: President Barack Obama watches his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, on TV as she breaks ground for the White House vegetable garden.  Press Secretary Robert Gibbs watches with him in the Upper Press Office of the West Wing 3/20/09.  Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.  From the White House Flickr stream First 100 Days Slideshow.)

H/T to Jennifer Heigl at Daily Blender.

White House Kitchen Garden on video!


The Garden Bus Guys by Nathalie Jordi,
prostate Bon Appetit
A White House garden that produces more than vegetables by Chuck Raasch, USA Today (and syndicated)
Shovel-Ready Project: A White House Garden by Jane Black, The Washington Post
Foodies Celebrate White House Veggie Garden by Kate Barrett and Brian Hartman, ABC News
Eco by Roberto Croci, Vogue Italia (Italian PDF)
Vita huset får egen köksträdgård by Natalie Roos Holmborg, Dagens Nyheter (Swedish)

Veggie Gardens and Other Ideas for the Obamas by Anne Marie Chaker, The Wall Street Journal
On the Road For Change, The Goal: A Farm At the White House by Jane Black, The Washington Post
Un jardin à la Maison-Blanche Stéphanie Bérubé, La Presse (French)
Growing the First Garden by Jenifer Joy Madden, E, The Environmental Magazine (PDF)
Activists Clamor For Organic Farm At White House by Brian Reed, NPR National Public Radio
Former Peace Corps Volunteers Want White House Lawn to Become a Sustainable Farm by Thomas Spencer, The Birmingham News (PDF)
Edible Bus Rolls to Market by Christina Walker, Santa Monica Daily Press (PDF)
Activists visit Lubbock to promote organic farming, by Tina Arons, The Daily Toredor (PDF)
Changing The Way We Eat, Bill Moyers Journal
Now, Vote for Veggies, by Leslie Hatfield, The Huffington Post
Riva man pushes for a farm at the White House, by Pamela Wood, Annapolis Capital
Organic farmers want to plant on the White House lawn, by Bruce Colbert, Prescott Daily Courier
Not your typical evangelists, by Nathalie Jordi, Plenty Magazine Eco-Eats Blog
On the garden bus, by Caitlin Sullivan, Southwest Virginia Today
WHOFarm wants to give food for thought to President Whoever, By C. Richard Cotton, Memphis Commercial Appeal
The White House Organic Farm Project, by Moe Beitiks, Inhabitat
Inverted bus turns heads by Genevieve Bookwalter, San Jose Mercury News/Santa Cruz Sentinel
White House Garden: Yay or Nay? by Kim O’Donnel, Washington Post
Look WHO Rolled Through Town: A Pit Stop in Athens on a Political Road Trip by Ramsey Nix, Flagpole
Who would wait a week in line for an iPhone 3G? by Philip Elmer-DeWitt, Apple 2.0,
iPhone 3G queue not idiots but environmental campaigners by Jack Schofield, The Guardian UK Technology Blog
Group queues up for iPhone 3G to promote organic farming by Elizabeth Montalbano, Macworld
Going Green For iPhone 3G, Huffington Post
Spending a week in line garners a lot of attention by Amy Zimmer, Metro New York
The early bird gets the iPhone. And also gets media attention for an organic farm at the White House by Bonnie Hulkower, Treehugger
CurbedWire: Organic Bus in LA
En Nueva York ya están haciendo cola en el Apple Store, AppleHOY

Going Green Champions of the Week, WSBTV, Atlanta
A Victory Garden Grows Again, Kitchen Caravan
What’s with TheWhoFarm, MTV Choose or Lose
TheWhoFarm in Albuquerque
New York’s first iPhone 3G customer breaks record
iPhone’s Second Coming: A look at the frenzy surrounding Apple’s new 3G iPhone launch, with David Pogue, The New York Times tech columnist, CNBC
3G iPhone: Can It Run on Flower Power? by Aaron Task, Yahoo! Finance
David Pogue on iPhone, with TheWhoFarm camero, CNBC
Slow Food Rocks Interview: White House Organic Farm Project, by Tamara Palmer, SF Weekly

TheWhoFarm on Flickr

Two videos recently came out that feature the White House Kitchen Garden.

The first video series were interspersed in the NBC Primetime special Inside the Obama White House and an accompanying web-only video of White House Food Initiative Coordinator Sam Kass talking up the garden, recipe harvesting lettuce and radishes, mind
and then prepping them in the kitchen.  A great summary of the food moments at Obama Foodorama.

The second video was released by The White House, and for a while, was featured on the White House homepage.  It features compost, bees, and Philadelphia Phillies star Ryan Howard visiting the garden with Sam Kass.  The candid discussion about healthy eating is informative and entertaining to say the least.  This video has overnight become the all-time most popular video of a baseball player in a vegetable garden.   Once again, Obama Foodorama has the breakdown.

Photo: Radishes and lettuce harvested from the White House Kitchen Garden are prepared for the Congressional Spouses Luncheon May 17, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton.)

First Lady visits Bancroft Elementary School, Plants Cucumbers and Peppers.

It just keeps getting better and better!

Yesterday, asthma Michelle Obama visited Bancroft Elementary School.  She met with the students who have helped at the White House Kitchen Garden.  She also met their parents, meningitis and planted some cucumbers and peppers in their organic garden.

According to the pool press report:

FLOTUS on Friday, injection May 29, 2009, visited fifth-graders at Bancroft Elementary School in the nation’s capital to help plant a dozen cucumbers and four red bell pepper plants — the school has long cultivated an organic garden and students from Bancroft helped Mrs. Obama plant the White House’s garden this spring.

“Hey!” she said as she walked through the library door to a throng of 45 fifth-graders, most of them sitting on the library rug. Four had been chosen to sit in chairs and read prepared statements on gardening and the importance of eating fruits and vegetables. One wrote about tomatoes, two wrote about broccoli and a third rhapsodized about carrots.

“The tomato is a fruit and it’s now my best friend,” read Carlos Aguilar.

Tammy Nguyen waxed poetic on the virtues of gardening, saying, “Getting outside feels good.”

Below are Mrs. Obama’s remarks, which include an update on the bounty at 1600, as well as our First Lady’s thoughts on processed foods and childhood nutrition.

More analysis at Obama Foodorama.



Office of the First Lady
For Immediate Release                                      May 29, 2009


Bancroft Elementary School
Washington, D.C.

2:14 P.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA:  Well, that’s hard to follow.  (Laughter.)  I mean, those were just some amazing presentations.  Carlos, Cierra, Tammy, David, I am so proud of you all — I mean, because it wasn’t just what they said, but how you presented it, how you structured it; you added humor, great description.  Just as a teacher, that’s just A-plus work right there.  (Laughter.)

And it says it all.  I mean, those presentations are just a great representation of what this little project can do with kids.  They just eat up information and they take our lead, and they drink it up like nothing, and then they turn it around and teach us in the process.

It has been an honor to work with you all.  It has been an honor.  Each and every time you have come to the White House, you have come with graciousness, good manners, enthusiasm, energy.  Your parents should be very proud of you, as well as your teachers.  You have made it just so easy for us to work with you, and I am thrilled to be here in your garden.  And I’m going to do some planting, too, here.

So I want to thank you all for what you’ve done to help us get the garden started.  And Tammy, just to answer your questions, the garden is beautiful.  It is blooming, it is bursting.  We’ve already used about 80 pounds of lettuce.  We’ve eaten it, we served it at a big fancy luncheon that I did for other congressional and senate spouses, and they just raved over it.  And I told everybody about the work that you did to plant it, how you came back again and again, and how you’re working in your own gardens.

So everything is going well.  We also shared some of the lettuce and some of the honey with Miriam’s Kitchen, as well, so already the work that you’re doing is not just feeding our family and the staff and our guests at the White House, but it’s feeding people who may not have anything to eat.  So you all should know, when you come back to harvest in a couple of weeks, you will see a totally different garden.

Everything is blooming.  We even had to replant some more lettuce because we used it up so quickly.  But the beans are starting to sprout up.  We put the tomatoes in.  We’ve sent — rhubarb.  We’ve had rhubarb pie.  If you guys have had rhubarb, it tastes just — sort of like strawberry, and maybe Sam — Mr. Sam — (laughter) — maybe we can do something with rhubarb, a nice sweet when you guys come back for the harvesting.

And we used a lot of the herbs, seasonings in our salads and in our foods, so we are using every single aspect of that garden.  And the tomatoes, hopefully, will be starting to come up, and some of the berries, as well.

So things are going well at the White House Garden, thanks to you all, and you should be proud of what you’ve done.

But this is exactly why I wanted to be a part of this project — what we’re seeing here.  Being able to share this with the Bancroft School has just been a special treat because as the students indicated in their presentation, it’s not just about being out in the garden, being out in the open air, or being at the White House.  They’ve really learned some lessons about nutrition.  They’re making different choices because they’re a part of the process of planting and tilling the soil and pulling up the food.  It makes such a huge difference in the choices that they make.

So this is an example of why we wanted to do this, and I’m so happy that today some parents and community members have been able to join us to see just how much these kids have learned and how much they’ve embraced these concepts, because it’s an example of what we can do nationally with kids and nutrition, because we have to have these conversations about nutrition in a society where we’re seeing growing rates of obesity and diabetes among kids.  It is really about choices.

And one of the ways that I got involved in gardening and eating fresh foods is because I was a busy parent.  When we started this election, even before this campaign, you find that your schedule is so packed that it becomes difficult to figure out how to quickly and effectively feed your family.  So what do you resort to?  I know, it was take-out, it was processed foods, it was everything quick and easy.

And we started to see that taking a toll on our health.  And our children’s pediatrician gave me a little tap on the shoulder and said, you might want to make some changes.  And the changes that we made were very simple.  We added more fruits and vegetables to our plates.  We eliminated processed foods.  We didn’t say no to anything — we still went out — but it was just about moderation, and we were able to engage our children in the process of understanding what foods do to their bodies.

And like the kids at Bancroft, they ate up that information and they started schooling me and lecturing me about what I should be eating, and what a carrot does, and what broccoli does.  And sometimes they look at my plate in disgust now.  (Laughter.)  But what that just told me is that kids can lead the way for us, because we care about them so much.  I know I care about these kids as much as I care about my own.  And I wanted to share some of the lessons that I learned as a parent and the improvement that I saw in our overall family health with the rest of the nation, because it is difficult if you don’t know about choices.

And we also know that access and affordability is also an important part of this conversation, which is why encouraging people to use farmer’s markets, community gardens are really critical.  But we have to figure out how to make this more affordable.

And Bancroft School, this partnership has been right on track, because you’ve seen firsthand how possible it is to develop a community garden.  There were times, my mother reminded me, when there were victory gardens all over communities throughout this nation.  She talked about, as we went through this garden project — it was like — she just remembered that her mother — you know, they had seven kids — would get their fruits and vegetables from a victory garden in their neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago.  And that was one of the reasons why during some tough times with a big family and very little resources, they always had fruits and vegetables.  That was always something that was a part of their diet.  So part of what we need to do is reengage our communities in this kind of dialogue.

But we also need to think more broadly about the quality of the foods that we give our kids throughout — what we’re doing in our schools, in our school lunch programs — because as the economy gets more troubled, there are going to be more and more kids who are going to qualify and rely on the meals that they get at schools, their breakfasts and their lunches.

And the next step — or one of the next steps in this conversation is figuring out how do we ensure, through the help of the government, as well as local communities, that the foods that our kids are getting in school each and every day is as healthy as it can be, so that we’re bringing some of these lessons home and we’re also expanding them in the classrooms and in the schools.

So this has been just a wonderful kickoff.  And as you said, you think I’ve — you’ve enjoyed the hugs and the kisses and the hugs and the sharing?  I’ve enjoyed that the most —  getting to know you guys, digging in the dirt, you know, just being out in the open air and watching your excitement — because we did a lot of hard work moving that dirt with those shovels.  That was harder than I thought it was.  Remember we had to get the soil ready?  That was hard.  That stuff was heavy, wasn’t it?


MRS. OBAMA:  But you guys didn’t stop.  And I didn’t think that we were going to finish planting everything.  I told Sam — I said, well, we’re going to — when it was time to plant, I said, well, maybe we’ll get through some of this, but we’re going to run out of time.  But what did we do?

AUDIENCE:  Finish.

MRS. OBAMA:  You finished everything.  You guys planted every single thing in the White House Kitchen Garden.  You did everything, and you didn’t stop until it was done.  And you should be proud of yourselves because I am so proud of you.

Thank you.  Thank you for being you guys, okay.  So let’s go out and do some more planting.  (Applause.)

END                     2:23 P.M. EDT

(Source: White House)

Time Magazine: First Lady is shining a light on healthy eating habits.

First Lady Michelle Obama is on the cover of the new Time Magazine.

Time has published try 8816, urologist 1899741, cialis 40mg 00.html” target=”_blank”>the entire interview by Michael Scherer and Nancy Gibbs on their website.  She was asked about the interaction between the symbolism of the White House Kitchen Garden and the Administration’s overall policy agenda.

Time Magazine: That really comes through when you talk about work-life balance, that you know whereof you speak on that. But what I wondered, as I listened to you the other day talking about we need to discuss what happens when a child is sick and you don’t have paid sick leave or need to discuss on-site child care and things, it seems like we have been discussing those. The point is now, how do you take shining the light you’re shining on an issue like that? What then happens? Because that’s sort of about law and money and very concrete things, as opposed to symbolic, if you plant a kitchen garden, you may send a really great message about eating habits. How does the policy side of it and the concrete side of your agenda work?
First Lady Michelle Obama: Well, I think that’s where the relationship between the East and the West Wing matters. One of the things that I’ve tried to do, my team, as we’ve thought about issues … and the issues that I’ve selected are important to me personally, which is the start … I mean, it has to come from a real true place, an experience that I can connect to. It’s got to be organic to me, something that I understand just in my daily life. I’ve tried to build my career like that, just choosing things that I really care about. So it starts there.

But it also is important that these are issues that are going to potentially have some kind of traction with the West Wing, because it is true, it’s … shining the light is the first and oftentimes a very important step, but then the question … now the policy piece, which belongs in the West Wing, needs to follow.

So these are issues that are not just important to me, but they’re important to my husband and they’re important to the West Wing. And then we look to them and say, O.K., we’ve got the kitchen garden planted and we’re talking about these issues, so what’s next? And the next comes from the West Wing. But we don’t take it on if we don’t know that there’s some meat there, if that makes sense.

SF Mayor and Victory Gardener Gavin Newsom visits White House Kitchen Garden.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom visited the White House earlier this month to discuss issues such as healthcare, ask the environment, purchase poverty, and transportation with Obama administration advisors and cabinet members. At the end of his meeting with Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, she and White House Assistant Chef and Food Initiative Coordinator Sam Kass took the Mayor on a tour of the White House Kitchen Garden. Ms. Jarrett knows a thing or two about gardening. Back in the day, her parents often hosted Sunday night dinners for friends such as the Obamas, with green beans and tomatoes from their garden.

It seems like just yesterday that Mayor Newsom signed our petition at Slow Food Nation. (We, the people, respectfully request that an organic farm be planted on the grounds of The White House.)

Mayor Newsom may have given a pointer or two to Jarrett and Kass.  After all, before Michelle Obama planted her vegetable garden, Mayor Newsom planted his, and he isn’t stopping there. In a recent talk at The Long Now Foundation entitled Cities and Time, he discussed the impacts of the Victory Garden that was planted outside of SF City Hall last year:

“We put a big vegetable garden in front of city hall, now you are seeing, folks in Washington DC and Michelle Obama, First Lady Obama doing one, and now you have Maria Shriver doing one up in Sacramento. I remember when we put our garden and Willie Brown [former SF mayor] chastised me and said, you are going to have cows and horses next out there, missing the point that this was about raising the environmental consciousness about what we eat and where we get the food…And so we are really trying to challenge people about this urban rural connection in terms of agriculture and food, and so, we have, all new food strategies that are part of our healthcare strategy. As you know we are the only city in the United States of America with a universal healthcare plan that is actually implemented for 64% of people, comprehensive universal healthcare and now we are focusing on investing in people’s health as opposed to treating their sickness, which means we are focusing on what they eat… It is another area of this environmental consciousness for a sustainable city, that we are also arguing for and also advancing.”

SF Victory Gardens
Gavin Newsom Healthy Food Issues
More photos of Gavin Newsom in The White House Kitchen Garden
Press release: Mayor Newsom Meets with Senior Aides to President Obama and Cabinet Secretaries at the White House
(Mayor Newsom photo courtesy of Nate Ballard.  SF Victory Garden courtesy of Rhonda Winter.)

Finnish delegation and Nora visit the White House Kitchen Garden.

white house kitchen garden sam kass and nora pouillon

Mrs. Obama recently told the Bancroft Elementary kids that on her recent trip to Europe:

“Every single person, pill from Prince Charles on down, cialis 40mg they were excited about the fact that we were planting a garden, malady because in many countries they really believe in the importance of planting and growing your own food.  So they were fascinated and grateful to all of you for helping make this possible.”

The Finns must have gotten wind of the news, because when a group of Finnish folks in town for MyHelsinki were invited to the White House last week, they expressed a particular interest in touring the White House Kitchen Garden.  Assistant Chef and Food Initiative Coordinator Sam Kass had the honor of showed them around.  From the looks of the photos, the greens are coming along quite nicely.

white house kitchen garden sam kass and nora pouillon

The Finns were accompanied by Nora Pouillon, who had recently visited Helsinki for the first time. That’s Nora of Nora’s, America’s first certified organic restaurant. Nora was also instrumental in reviving DC’s farmers’ markets and is a frequent shopper.  She must have felt a closer to heaven in the White House Kitchen Garden.

If you can understand Finnish and want to read more about the visit, including what Finnish gifts the guests brought for the President and for Sam Kass, click here. If you prefer an English, automated translation, Google Translate has you covered here.

(Photos courtesy of

President Clinton on the White House Kitchen Garden.

President Clinton stopped by the Rachael Ray Show on May 7th to discuss childhood obesity.

From the Rachael Ray Show website:

President Bill Clinton first joined Rachael in the kitchen when she launched her Yum-o! organization and announced a partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to teach families about healthy eating and combat childhood obesity. With a new administration in place, unhealthy Rachael asks President Clinton for his opinion on the progress being made on this issue. “I think the fact that the first family planted a garden on the White House lawn will have as big an impact as almost anything they can do, orthopedistPresident Clinton says.

(There is a clip of President Clinton’s appearance here, but it does not include his comment on the White House Kitchen Garden.)