October 7, 2011 -- On Wednesday, October 5, 2011 the School Nutrition Association was invited to be a part of the first Let's Move! Garden Harvest & Tweetup at the White House. @SchoolLunch (SNA’s voice on Twitter) and a select group of 16 other tweeps were chosen out of hundreds of applicants to meet with White House staff, observe First Lady Michelle Obama’s Fall Garden Harvest, and share their experience with followers on Twitter.
Let’s Move! is the First Lady’s initiative working to solve childhood obesity within a generation. The School Nutrition Association, whose members work every day to provide healthy school meals, was honored to be included in the tweetup and generate buzz around the First Lady’s efforts to improve child nutrition and get kids excited about healthy lifestyles.
Participating in the tweetup also gave @SchoolLunch the opportunity to connect with other tweeps focused on childhood obesity and link them and their followers with www.TrayTalk.org, showing how schools across the country have long supported Let’s Move! goals like offering more locally sourced produce and participating in the HealthierUS School Challenge.
First Lady Michelle Obama with Mia, harvesting peppers in the White House garden
You can revisit the conversations at www.twitter.com by searching the hashtags -- #LetsMove, #WHTweetUp, and for an insider’s view of the tweetup, read @SchoolLunch’s account of the day’s events below:
The afternoon began around 1:00 pm, when I met other tweeps outside the North West Gate of the White House. It felt like a scene out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (But in this real life scenario, fresh vegetables were the reason for the behind the scenes tour!)
We toured the White House garden with Chef Sam Kass and learned about the variety of produce grown in the garden. He was very proud of the figs proclaiming, “Someone tweet this fig!” I also learned that the seeds from the garden came from Thomas Jefferson and that Eleanor Roosevelt was the last First Lady to have a garden at the White House!
We also learned about the beehive with White House carpenter and beekeeper Charlie Brandts. Did you know that 1 out of 3 bites of food are directly impacted by pollination? Even beef?
We then met with Let’s Move! Executive Director, Dr. Judith Palfrey, and Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Policy and Special Projects for the First Lady, Jocelyn Frye, to learn more about the origins of the Let’s Move! initiative. The First Lady has utilized and leveraged the garden to have more serious discussions about child nutrition issues.
After our policy discussion, we returned to the garden to watch the First Lady, along with students from Bancroft and Harriet Tubman Elementary Schools, harvest sweet potatoes and peppers for an upcoming State Dinner next week as well as for Miriam’s Kitchen, a local soup kitchen.
When the First Lady came out to greet everyone she gave a nod to the tweetup group, “Twitter fans in the house. Woo! You guys ready? Got your thumbs ready?" But her focus was on the children. She asked them enthusiastically, “Why are we here?” The first response was: “To learn how to eat healthy!” The second was: “To eat pizza!” Here is the recipe for what looked like delicious garden vegetable pizza.
Following the garden harvest, we were escorted to the White House Kitchen where Executive Chef Cris Comeford showed us how to squeeze all the MyPlate components into a delicious whole grain pita! This included a seasoned Greek yogurt sauce, marinated chicken breast, hummus, plenty of veggies and even apple slices. Following our kitchen tour, we were escorted off the White House grounds.
Throughout the afternoon of tweeting, I tweeted pics and tidbits about the day as well as resources for followers to see what great work is being done with school meals! by @SchoolLunch
@SchoolLunch has over 5,300 followers including national reporters, school food advocates, policy makers and parents.
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