On Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 1:30 PM ET, First Lady Michelle Obama will join school children from across the country to plant the White House Kitchen Garden for the fifth year in a row. Mrs. Obama planted a vegetable garden on the South Lawn to initiate a national conversation around the health and wellbeing of our nation – a conversation that evolved into her Let’s Move!initiative to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation. This year, Mrs. Obama invited children from schools that have made exceptional improvements to school lunches through implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, in addition to Harriet Tubman and Bancroft Elementary Schools in Washington, DC which have been active participants in the White House Kitchen Garden.

Children from the following schools will help plan this year’s garden:

 Benjamin David Gullett Elementary School, Manatee County Schools – Bradenton, FL

28 of this district’s elementary schools have received HealthierUS Schools Challenge awards. The schools have at least one salad entrée every day, offer whole grain wraps and other healthy recipes, each of which are taste-tested with the kids. Fresh fruits and vegetables are available to students every day, and nutrition education and physical activity programming is a school priority. Gullett uses gardening as a learning opportunity for its students, and school food and nutrition program teaches students about planting, growing, and tasting vegetables to give students a better understanding of nutritious food and to promote healthy school meals.

Arthur D. Healey School, Somerville Public Schools – Somerville, MA

Somerville Public Schools has had great success with the new, healthy school meals and is promoting healthy eating and snacking at school and at home. The district has a Farm to School program for K-12 that includes food education events like “corn shucking day” when kids learn about the food they’re eating in school meals. At Healey, the school’s parents, teachers, the Mayor, and school administrators support the continued efforts to integrate nutrition education into after-school programming. The school serves healthy breakfasts and snacks, its lunch program has a salad bar and kids participate in taste tests as new healthy recipes are created. The Healey Garden, started in 2004, hosts celebratory gardening days and gardening activities throughout the year.

Sarah Moore Greene Magnet Technology Academy, Knox County Schools – Knox County, TN

This school district revamped its lunch menus and engaged parents and students to make sure everyone would like their new healthy recipes – like their own hand-tossed, whole grain pizza. Sarah More Greene Elementary has integrated innovative ways of encouraging kids to eat fruits and vegetables. Just this fall, the school started a Jeffersonian Heirloom Garden and connected the project to 3rd-5th grade social studies coursework on America’s history, highlighting American presidents who have had a role in gardening and land stewardship. Additionally, the school offers nutritious snacks and breakfasts to students daily and works with community partners to provide gardening classes to parents and kids.

Milton Elementary School, Milton Town School District – Milton, VT

This district has made lunchtime a dining experience for students by using MyPlate, salad bars, local ingredients, and delicious takes on fruits and vegetables like squash with nutmeg and cinnamon. They also have kid taste tests and sampling to ensure that kids like the meals served. Milton Elementary School is also planning on planting a garden and using the produce for student meals during the school year and during the summer.

Mrs. Obama and the students will be assisted in the garden by veterans who work with Archi’s Acres and VSAT (Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training) which trains transitioning service men and women to be successful in the sustainable organic agriculture industry.