Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Michelle Obama

One part of the Obama White House that will endure under Trump: Michelle’s vegetable garden

February 13, 2017

It was less than a year ago that Michelle Obama referred to it as “her baby.”

She wasn’t talking about her youngest daughter, Sasha, or the Obama’s pet dog Bo, but something undoubtedly dear to her during her time at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: the White House vegetable garden.

Her comments were made during her eighth and final spring planting, but “hopefully,” she added, “this will not be the last” one ever.

First lady Melania Trump confirmed that although the garden’s founder may have moved away, her beloved garden lives on. A spokeswoman for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“As a mother and as the First Lady of this country, Mrs. Trump is committed to the preservation and continuation of the White House Gardens, specifically the First Lady’s Kitchen Garden and the Rose Garden,” Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, senior adviser to the first lady, said in a statement to CNN.

The White House vegetable garden was supposedly the first of its kind since Eleanor Roosevelt’s in 1943, The Washington Post’s Dan Zak reported in April.

The garden in the past has offered a varied menu that included “Churchill” brussels sprouts and “Kentucky colonel” spearmint, as well as garlic and fennel and shallots and endive. The garden was, at last count, 1,700 square feet in size, but for the past eight years it has occupied a much larger space symbolically, as Michelle Obama used her platform to fight childhood obesity and improve America’s eating habits.

Throughout that fight, health advocates said, the garden was a physical reminder of Obama’s message.

“The vegetables wind up in dinners for the first family,” Zak noted. “Almost 500 pounds of them have been shipped to homeless shelters. In 2010, they ripened into Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, for which the first lady danced with Elmo and Jimmy Fallon in order to get kids off the couch and to the crisper. She has also nudged corporations to trim salt, sugar and fat from food products.”

The garden — located on the corner of the South Lawn — more than doubled in area during the Obama presidency. The garden also includes an apiary and a pollinator garden for bees and other insects. A spokesman for Hillary Clinton told The Post that she intended to keep the garden if she were elected president, but Trump had not signaled whether the garden would survive until last week.

CNN reported that Trump toured the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, Fla., with Akie Abe, wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The visit gave the first lady — striking a Michelle Obama-esque tone — a chance to tout the health benefits and physical beauty that can be derived from a well-kept garden.

The story behind “that selfie”: Barack Obama, British David Cameron, Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt

Roberto Schmidt posted:

So here’s my photo, which quickly lit up the world’s social networks and news websites.

The “selfie” of 3 world leaders who, during South Africa’s farewell to Nelson Mandela, were messing about like kids instead of behaving with the mournful gravitas one might expect.
(AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt)

US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron pose for a picture with Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt next to US First Lady Michelle Obama during the memorial service for South African former president Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg. (AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt)

In general on this blog, photojournalists tell the story behind a picture they’ve taken.

I’ve done this for images from Pakistan, and India, where I am based.

This time the picture comes from a stadium in Soweto, and shows people taking a photo of themselves. I guess it’s a sign of our times that somehow this image seemed to get more attention than the event itself. Go figure.

selfie-combo_m.jpg

I arrived in South Africa with several other AFP journalists to cover the farewell and funeral ceremonies for Nelson Mandela. We were in the Soccer City stadium in Soweto, under a driving rain.

I’d been there since the crack of dawn and when I took this picture, the memorial ceremony had already been going on for more than two hours.

From the podium, Obama had just qualified Mandela as a “giant of history who moved a nation towards justice.” After his stirring eulogy, America’s first black president sat about 150 metres across from where I was set up. He was surrounded by other foreign dignitaries and I decided to follow his movements with the help of my 600 mm x 2 telephoto lens.

So Obama took his place amid these leaders who’d gathered from all corners of the globe. Among them was British Prime Minister David Cameron, as well as a woman who I wasn’t able to immediately identify.

I later learned it was the Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt. I’m a German-Colombian based in India, so I don’t feel too bad I didn’t recognize her! At the time, I thought it must have been one of Obama’s many staffers.

Suddenly this woman pulled out her mobile phone and took a photo of herself smiling with Cameron and the US president. I captured the scene reflexively.

All around me in the stadium, South Africans were dancing, singing and laughing to honour their departed leader. It was more like a carnival atmosphere, not at all morbid. The ceremony had already gone on for two hours and would last another two.

The atmosphere was totally relaxed – I didn’t see anything shocking in my viewfinder, president of the US or not. We are in Africa.

(AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt)

(AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt)

I later read on social media that Michelle Obama seemed to be rather peeved on seeing the Danish prime minister take the picture. But photos can lie. In reality, just a few seconds earlier the first lady was herself joking with those around her, Cameron and Schmidt included. Her stern look was captured by chance.

I took these photos totally spontaneously, without thinking about what impact they might have.

At the time, I thought the world leaders were simply acting like human beings, like me and you. I doubt anyone could have remained totally stony faced for the duration of the ceremony, while tens of thousands of people were celebrating in the stadium.

For me, the behaviour of these leaders in snapping a selfie seems perfectly natural. I see nothing to complain about, and probably would have done the same in their place.

The AFP team worked hard to display the reaction that South African people had for the passing of someone they consider as a father. We moved about 500 pictures, trying to portray their true feelings, and this seemingly trivial image seems to have eclipsed much of this collective work.

(AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt)

It was interesting to see politicians in a human light because usually when we see them it is in such a controlled environment. Maybe this would not be such an issue if we, as the press, would have more access to dignitaries and be able to show they are human as the rest of us.

I confess too that it makes me a little sad we are so obsessed with day-to-day trivialities, instead of things of true importance.

During Mandela's memorial service in Johannesburg. (AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt)

During Mandela’s memorial service in Johannesburg. (AFP Photo / Roberto Schmidt)

Note 1:  Have you noticed that Roberto and Helle have the same name of Schmidt?  And what Schmidt means in English?

Note 2: Apparently, it was the stony face of Michelle Obama that promoted these pictures…

Note 3: I acquired a new term in my dictionary: Selfie is to take picture of yourself using a smartphone…

 


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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