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Michelle Obama's White House garden is a growing success

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Cristeta Comerford and Bobby Flay against the duo of Mario Batali and Emeril Lagasse.

Their challenge? Whip up five dishes using anything from the garden. The chefs harvested everything from fennel and collard greens to purple cauliflower and

Japanese eggplant. Comerford and Flay won the cook-off.

The 1,100-square-foot plot, about the size of a small apartment, has yielded more than 1,000 pounds of sweet potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, broccoli, fennel, lettuce, other vegetables and herbs that White House and visiting chefs have used to feed the Obama family and guests.

A nearby beehive, bolted to the South Lawn to withstand wind gusts from the president's helicopter, produced 134 pounds of honey. Some was given to spouses who accompanied world leaders to an international economic summit last year in Pittsburgh.

This year, Mrs. Obama plans to involve more students from other schools.

Mrs. Obama's plot is the first large-scale garden project at the White House since the "victory garden" first lady Eleanor Roosevelt planted during World War II.

The government encouraged such gardens to make sure troops and civilians had enough to eat.

Advocates of eating more fresh, locally grown food, including California chef Alice Waters, spent months lobbying the Obamas to start the garden. Mrs. Obama has says it was something she thought about doing before moving from Chicago.

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