Daily Archives: April 16, 2010

First Lady Michelle Obama Visits A San Diego Community Farm

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama holds a piece of chard given to her by Khadiga Musame, a refugee from Somalia, during her visit to the New Roots Community Farm in San Diego, California April 15, 2010. (Photo credit REUTERS/Mike Blake)

AP~Returning from Mexico, Michelle Obama made a brief stop Thursday across the border in San Diego to visit a community garden farmed by international refugees that she called a model for building healthy communities across the nation and around the world.

Obama toured the New Roots Community Farm to promote her campaign against childhood obesity and kick off a $1 billion project by The California Endowment to fund healthy living initiatives in 14 communities across the state, including the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego, where the community farm is located.

Obama’s visit follows a week of travel that included a tour of earthquake-ravaged Haiti and a stop in Mexico to launch an agenda about inspiring young people around the world to become involved in their societies.

Some 80 farmers from around the globe work at the 2.3-acre farm, which started in June 2009 on city land in the middle of City Heights. Many grow vegetables like kale and sweet potatoes that they grew back in the native countries they left because of civil wars and other violence.

“It’s a model for the nation, for the world,” Obama said after touring the 89 plots, where she hugged the farmers and listened to their stories.

The garden provides fresh food to the refugees and their families. Some of the fruits and vegetables grown there also are sold at a farmers’ market and to local restaurants, giving the refugees some income. About 90 percent of the farmers have been unable to find a job because they do not have the skills or do not speak the language.

Millions of children in the United States live in what Obama called “food deserts,” places where there is no easy access to grocery stores or farmers’ markets.

She said the project with The California Endowment aims to turn “good ideas into something bigger.”

Tsitsi Mutseta, who moved to San Diego from Zimbabwe eight years ago, said the garden helped ease her mind as she adjusted to her new life in the United States, far from her family.

Mutseta is fighting cancer and said she told Obama the garden has given her a reason to live.

“I told her I come to the garden to relieve my pain. I get food from the garden that is organic and it connects me with my family because I grew up on a small farm in Zimbabwe,” said Mutseta, a tall woman who hugged Obama and gave her leaves from her kale crop. “She said she would pray for me and she loved what I did in the garden.”

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Filed under Childhood Obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama, Mexico, Video/YouTube