Thursday, June 10, 2010

A visit from the Secretary of Agriculture

The U.S. National Arboretum was excited to host Secretary of the Department of Agriculture Tom Vilsack this spring. Students from the Washington Youth Garden's Garden Science classes at Center City Public Charter School Trinidad, along with students from nearby Brent Elementary, joined the Secretary in planting some trees and pepper plants.

The students and Secretary Vilsack also participated in activities celebrating healthy eating. We taste tested various herbs and different varieties of fresh salad greens. Promoting healthy eating habits, especially for children, is one of the Secretary's top priorities.

Secretary Vilsack commented, "Arbor Day is important not only because of the rich tradition of improving our communities by planting trees, but also because it highlights the connection between two of this Administration's top priorities - helping improve the environment and helping children grow healthier and stronger. The kids at the Arboretum today had the chance to see how getting outside and being a part of nature is fun, exciting, and good for their health, right here in the heart of Washington D.C."

Here's a picture of Secretary Vilsack with our year-round youth intern and aspiring culinary student, Jonathan Gliss.

Two Washington Redskin players also joined in on the celebration. To promote physical activity, they lead the students in running and passing drills. Wide Receiver Malcolm Kelly also showed off his gardening skills when we were planting peppers. He grew up working in the dirt on a farm in Texas and told the students how much of an impact that had on his life. We wish we had a Redskins player and former farmer on hand all the time to talk to our students about the importance of growing your own food and eating veggies!

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