You don’t normally associate long lines, metal detectors, and Secret Security snipers with neighborhood farmers markets, but it’s not every day that First Lady Michelle Obama braves the spitting rain to shop for organic produce in downtown DC. Hundreds of people and their umbrellas packed the 800 block of Vermont Avenue, Northwest, this afternoon for the inaugural FreshFarm farmers market sponsored by the White House, which will be held every Thursday from 3 to 7 through October.
Part community co-op, part rock concert, the event was geared to drum up enthusiasm for the White House’s fresh-food agenda by calling on several local boldface names. Mayor Adrian Fenty stepped to the microphone on a stage bordered by bushels of hay and yams, asking, “DC, are you excited about farmers markets?” to a raucous applause that was topped moments later when the First Lady was introduced.“I’ve never seen so many people excited about vegetables,” she opened. “Wherever I travel, whether I visit with kings, queens, or prime ministers, one of the first things they ask me is about the White House garden,” she added, before stating that the fresh-food movement she has spearheaded has been “one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my life.”
Obama stressed the importance of how the food a parent puts on a child’s plate affects how the children feel, how they act, and how they do their homework. She also talked about the benefits of knowing and trusting your local farmer, saying, “this market isn’t just about food, it’s about community. Now if you excuse me, I have some shopping to do.”
Eighteen vendors from Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia will be on hand each week, selling pasture-raised meats, artisan cheeses, milk, yogurt, fruits, nuts, breads, baked goods, and flowers.
For more information on FreshFarm Markets, visit twww.freshfarmmarkets.org.
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