FLOTUS Tours ILSR Staff Member’s Backyard Garden

The White House, March 3, 2016

First Lady Michelle Obama made a very big announcement Thursday morning on TODAY, visiting community gardens in and near Washington D.C. to emphasize the importance of community-scaled food production and food waste education.

FLOTUS is hitting the road this spring on a garden tour in honor of one of her very first initiatives: the White House Kitchen Garden. Planted seven years ago, the presidential plot of land sparked a national conversation around health and wellness — and inspired her legacy campaign.

After visiting D.C.-area schools, Mrs. Obama visited the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Waste to Wealth initiative Project Manager, Linda Bilsens, at her home to laud the backyard garden she, her husband and her family have cultivated in their yard.

“I am here to help highlight the amazing work you guys are doing in your garden for your community,” the First Lady told the Linda and her husband, Erik Brolis. “We have heard such great things you guys are doing in the neighborhood, and how you’re holding workshops, feeding your family and your neighbors.”

Brolis , who is also the co-founder and lead designer at Urban Farm Plans, a DC-area business that designs and builds systems for urban agriculture, went on to enumerate the benefits of their community garden, citing their families’ love of fresh and healthy ingredients. He also mentioned the subject of food waste, voicing his concern that “we’re [usually] getting rid of so much valuable growing medium, so we’ve composted in our backyard.”

Mrs. Obama voiced her excitement at the example they have created and hopes that these community-centered gardens are the way forward for many communities across the United States. She said, simply, “You guys are the champions.”



Here are some of the resources where the video and story are available:

Watch what happens when the First Lady surprises local gardeners to see their school and backyard gardens. #LetsMove

A video posted by White House Kitchen Garden (@whkitchengarden) on