Dear Michelle Obama,
Eight years ago, the country was in a crisis of increasing proportions and waistline girth that threatened the future lifespans of our children and added billions of dollars to the national healthcare bill. The future of our children was being threatened by poor choices in the food we eat, in the way we spend our free time, and how we use our valuable resources. The country was in need of a leader that could motivate us to get up and be more active in advocating for better choices. You stepped up to be the national spokesperson for a healthier lifestyle.
Mrs. Obama, from your kitchen garden rising from the manicured expanse of the South Lawn, you have led us as a nation to a healthier lifestyle. We were amazed and delighted to see rows of fruits and vegetables growing in back of the White House, beehives nestled among trees and bushes, and a compost pile showing everyone the circle of life in a garden. You invited groups of school children to experience the origins of healthy food and to learn that growing your own food can be achieved by anyone.
Your path for a healthier America has led from the White House gardens to our nation’s schools and daycare centers, where Let’s Move programs have transformed the food and fitness culture for all students. Over 7,000 school gardens allow thousands of students to experience the joys of growing food. When it is time for lunch, students are finding salad bars in the cafeteria full of exciting fresh fruits and vegetables as a result of the Salad Bars to Schools program . School meals have undergone nutritional improvements thanks to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. And once outside for recess or gym class, your programs have pushed for at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day as a standard. Obesity rates are starting to level off and are even decreasing at some young ages.
As we have traveled on this path to a healthier future together, you have shown us that leadership can be strong and forceful, yet graceful. You were joyous and playful while connecting with people of all ages and backgrounds. It is difficult to fathom that eight years at the White House is almost over. We have been truly inspired by your leadership for a healthier America, especially for the youth that will soon become the next generation of leaders. Your legacy will be marked by a reverse in the trends of obesity and a generation of healthy food advocates that will lead this nation on a pathway of lifelong healthy choices.
With the greatest respect and admiration,
Slow Food USA