Excerpt: 'American Grown' by First Lady Michelle Obama

But the purpose of this book is not simply to share our own story. Our White House Kitchen Garden is just one of thousands of gardens across this country, each with a story worth telling. In my hometown of Chicago, there's a World War II victory garden that still blooms today. In Houston, Texas, there's a garden adjacent to a downtown building where office workers tend to okra, squash, and tomatoes planted in containers on the concrete sidewalk. Teachers, parents, and students have started school gardens. Neighborhood gardeners are growing crops for local food banks. And people from all walks of life and every sector of our society are coming together and using gardens—and the food they grow and lessons they teach—to build a healthier future for our children.

It is my hope that our garden's story—and the stories of gardens across America—will inspire families, schools, and communities to try their own hand at gardening and enjoy all the gifts of health, discovery, and connection a garden can bring.

All across this great country of ours, something truly special is taking root. And that is the story I want to tell in this book: the story of how, together, in gardens large and small, we have begun to grow a healthier nation.

"Reprinted from American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America by Michelle Obama. Copyright © 2012 by the National Park Foundation. Published by Crown, a division of Random House, Inc."

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