Saturday, April 17, 2010

UPDATE: Let's Move...San Diego

First Lady Michelle Obama, center, examines vegetables grown by Somali immgrant Khadija Musame, second from right, as interpreter Bilal Muya, right, farm coordinator Amy Lint, second from left, and Dr. Robert Ross, President and CEO of The California Endowment, look on Thursday April 15, 2010 in San Diego.

Returning from Mexico, Michelle Obama made a brief stop Thursday in San Diego to visit a community garden farmed by international refugees that she called a model for building healthy communities across the nation and around the world.

Obama toured the New Roots Community Farm to promote her “Let’s Move!” campaign against childhood obesity. The event kicked off a $1 billion project by The California Endowment to fund healthy living initiatives in 14 communities across the state, including the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego, where the community farm is located. The project seeks to change lifestyles in low-income communities. Iton cited new research showing people live as many as 14 years longer in richer communities that offer safe parks, inviting bike lanes and organic grocery stores.

“You can predict how long somebody will live based on their address, and we should not be able to do that,” he said, pointing out that even in a physically fit city like San Diego where people bike, surf and sail daily, there are “pockets” where families have no access to fruits and vegetables and places to exercise.
Obama’s campaign includes introducing healthier school lunches and encouraging food manufacturers to reduce the sugar, salt and fat in foods.

Obama said the San Diego farm shows that “farmers coming from different corners of the globe recognized a common problem here in America” — the lack of fresh produce in people’s diets and the health problems that causes. Tsitsi Mutseta, 43, moved to San Diego from Zimbabwe eight years ago. She said the garden helped ease her mind as she adjusted to her new life in the United States, far from her family. She told Obama it also has given her peace as she fights cancer.

“I told her I come to the garden to relieve my pain. I get food from the garden that is organic and it connects me with my family because I grew up on a small farm in Zimbabwe,” said Mutseta, a tall woman who wrapped her arms around Obama and gave her leaves from her kale crop. “She said she would pray for me and she loved what I did in the garden.”

image & text via:The Associated Press

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