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Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.


First Family plants vegetable garden at a greener White House

Look for articles about organic gardening, farmers markets or supermarkets and restaurants featuring local produce. See how many benefits are mentioned.
Saving energy and reducing pesticide use are advantages of getting organic food from a backyard plot, community garden or nearby farms. Find news about other environmental issues or plans for Earth day events on April 22.
Hunt for food-related items of interest -- such as a snack idea, a recipe, a dining-out report or even an ad.

It's spring planting season, or soon will be, in many parts of our country -- and shovels were in use last Friday on the South Lawn of the White House. About two dozen fifth-graders from a nearby elementary school with a produce garden helped break ground for an organic one near a swing set used by Sasha and Malia Obama.
Fifty-five types of vegetables, herbs and berries will be planted in the large plot to provide part of the meals served to the first family and at formal dinners -- an example of something Americans increasingly do for economic, health and recreational reasons

Rising grocery costs, worries about pesticides and a "local food" movement are driving a big increase in American gardening. First Lady Michelle Obama said her family is joining the trend partly to help children learn about healthful, locally grown fruit and vegetables. You know, the tomato that's from your garden tastes very different from one that isn't," she says. "My hope is that children will begin to educate their families. And, hopefully, kids will be interested because there are kids living here."

John Adams planted the first presidential vegetable garden in 1800 to help offset the cost of entertaining guests, according to the White House Historical Association. White House staff also shopped at a nearby farmer's market throughout the 19th century. Eleanor Roosevelt planted "victory garden" vegetables on the grounds during World War II as an example of thrift. And During the 1993-2001 administration of President Bill Clinton, the First Family -- including daughter Chelsea -- enjoyed fresh produce from a small rooftop garden at the White House.

What'll be grown: Berries, tomatoes, spinach, chard, collards, black kale, cilantro, lettuce (red romaine, green oak leaf, butterhead, red leaf and galactic), tomatillos, hot peppers, basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, anise hyssop and other herbs. Two bee hives for honey.

Author says: "A garden can provide a surprisingly large amount of fresh, healthy produce. But just as important, it teaches important habits of mind -- helping people to reconnect with their food, eat more healthily on a budget and recognize that we're less dependent on the industrial food chain, and cheap fossil fuel, than we assume." - Michael Pollan, writer of "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and a leading agricultural reform advocate .

Restaurant owner says: "The power of Michelle Obama and the garden can create a very powerful message about eating healthy and more delicious food. I don't think it's a stretch to say it could translate into real change." - Dan Barber, organic restaurant owner in Pocantico Hills, N.Y.

Front Page Talking Points is written by Felix Grabowski and Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2016
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