Michelle Obama: 'Community Gardens Are a Significant Part of the History of This Country'

By Susan Jones | May 8, 2013 | 6:39 AM EDT

First lady Michelle Obama plants spinach with the help of students from Knoxville, Tenn., in April 2013. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - At a book signing event in Washington on Tuesday, First Lady Michelle Obama urged her fans to "buy away" for Mother's Day. "It's coming up," she said, adding that "American Grown" is a "great gift."

The book tells the story of the White House garden -- and others around the country.

"It's not just the story of the White House Kitchen Garden; it's the story of community gardens all across this country, because the truth is, the idea of the White House garden is not unique. Community gardens are a mainstay in so many communities across this country, from rural America to my neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago," Mrs. Obama said. She mentioned that until she started doing research for her book, she didn't realize that there was a community garden in one of the parks she "grew up using."

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"But community gardens are a significant part of the history of this country, which is why we thought it was important to incorporate these stories in the telling of the White House garden story."

Mrs. Obama said her goal in writing the book was to share the story of the White House garden, which she described as "semi-open to the public."

"Because if you visit the White House along the South Lawn, you can see the garden from outside of the White House. But millions of people don't get a chance to come to Washington. They hear about the garden; they don't get an opportunity to see it. So we wanted to use this as an opportunity to tell people about how we started it and how we thought about it, who all is involved, what kind of role Bo (the dog) plays -- he's a very significant part of the book."

She said the book also allows her to plug her "Let's Move" initiative to end childhood obesity:

All proceeds from the book will go to the National Park Foundation, which supports the White House Kitchen Garden and other community gardens across the country.

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