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Michelle Obama expands the White House garden

Last year's White House garden wasn't big enough, Michelle Obama decided. So she expanded it this year. Already, the first lady and schoolchildren have begun planting vegetables in the popular plot.

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Wesley Johnson, left, and Sharolyn Hyson, center, watch as first lady Michelle Obama, right, works in the garden at the White House on Wednesday, March 31, in Washington.

Evan Vucci/AP

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First lady Michelle Obama welcomed spring to the White House Wednesday by replanting her popular vegetable garden with the help of local elementary school students.

Mrs. Obama was joined on the South Lawn of the White House by third- through sixth-grade students from Bancroft Elementary School in Washington and Hollin Meadows Elementary School in Alexandria, Va. Both schools have gardens that Mrs. Obama has visited.

"Some of your classmates and some of you guys were part of helping us get the first garden ready, right?" she asked the students. "And this year we're ready to do it again."

IN PICTURES: The White House vegetable garden

Mrs. Obama said that the 1,000 pounds of food harvested last year fed many people, both at the White House and at nearby homeless shelters. The work on the garden started a national conversation about healthy eating, she said. [See note below about possible lead contamination of the garden last year.]

"Everybody is talking about that garden, not just here in Washington, not just here in the United States, but all over the world," she said. "And we've been able to start thinking about things like getting kids to try new foods that they've never tried, vegetables that they've never had."

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