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American Grown by Michelle Obama

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Eleanor Roosevelt advocated for the poor. Jacqueline Kennedy ushered in culture. Nancy Reagan taught children to "Just Say No" to drugs. Laura Bush focused on early childhood development. While their presidential husbands fought wars, political battles, and tried to steady wavering economies, the first ladies of America have found their own outlets for leadership, often drawing national attention to domestic causes with the purpose of strengthening families and communities.

Michelle Obama has found her own noble cause right at the root level with a gardening and simple cookbook, American Grown. In her first book, she chronicles the transformation of the White House's South Lawn into a working kitchen garden. With the help of White House staff, the National Park Service, volunteers, and scores of local school children, she turns over what was once a stretch of grass into fertile soil for sprouts, beans, berries, lettuces, corn, squash, and a variety of herbs. There is even an active honey beehive nearby, strapped down to withstand the winds of the presidential helicopter, Marine One.

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