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Michelle Obama's Top 5 Reasons to Take Up Gardening

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Michelle Obama's Garden Inspires Us

5 Reasons Why You Should Garden

In her quest to improve America's health, First Lady Michelle Obama is writing a book about the White House garden and healthy eating. Originally planted in 2009, the garden is now in its third round and has harvested over 2,000 pounds of food. Some of its romaine lettuce, spinach, berries, and sweet potatoes have been used to prepare official White House dinners or to feed the Obama family or have been donated to a local soup kitchen. The First Lady portrays gardening as an activity that everyone can participate in and benefit from. Here are the top reasons why you should add gardening to your favorite pastimes:

It's More Fun Than the Treadmill

Planting seeds, digging, shoveling dirt, pulling up weeds—you name it. It's all considered physical activity and will help you build strength and endurance (and maybe even some toned biceps like the First Lady's). Also, research has shown that people are more likely to stick with an exercise activity if it's enjoyable.

It's a Bonding Event

Mrs. Obama has gotten her entire family and local Washington, D.C. residents involved in planting and harvesting the White House garden. In the same manner, you can make gardening a community affair. Encourage the youth in your neighborhood to create and watch over a local garden as a safe and fun pastime. "So there's nothing like watching tiny seeds grow into something amazing. But the thing is ... the garden was about more than just planting healthy food, right, because we were able to feed not just the staff at the White House, but we provided food to people at homeless shelters. So we used that food to feed a lot of people. But we also began a conversation about getting kids and parents and teachers all across the country thinking about living healthy," Mrs. Obama said.

You Can Control Your Food

We all know that eating more fruits and vegetables is essential to a healthy lifestyle. But most people don't know where their food comes from or what was used to produce it. Planting and harvesting your own food allows you to control what chemicals or fertilizers are used. "We want to use it as a point of education, to talk about health and how delicious it is to eat fresh food, and how you can take that food and make it part of a healthy diet. You know, the tomato that's from your garden tastes very different from one that isn't. And peas-what is it like to eat peas in season? So we want the White House to be a place of education and awareness," Mrs. Obama said.

You Can Save Money

Mrs. Obama said it cost less than $200 to buy the seeds and tools to start her garden in 2009. Now, in its third re-planting, her investment keeps yielding positive returns. According to the National Gardening Association, on average a well-maintained food garden can yield a $500 return for its owner.

It Relieves Stress

Surrounding yourself with nature can be an excellent way to reduce stress or meditate.Developing the "personality" of your garden allows you to use your brain and be creative. For many people, gardening is a peaceful break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. April is National Gardening Month and it's the perfect time to grab your shovels and get dirty. Check out the First Lady's gardening book, due to be published next year, for more tips.

Filed Under: First Lady Diary
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