Friday, October 28, 2011

Behind The Scenes: Chicago Food Desert Summit

First Lady made two closed-to-press stops during her Chicago trip, with a visit to iron Street Urban Farm and to Campaign headquarters...
During her visit to her hometown of Chicago on Tuesday for the first-ever Let's Move! food desert summit, First Lady Michelle Obama made two closed-to-press stops. In the afternoon, she toured Iron Street Urban Farm on the South Side, a 7-acre facility located in an old truck depot that has been transformed into an oasis of urban agriculture. Though closed to press, the White House released two photos from the event. The tour was led by Erika Allen, National Outreach Director for Growing Power, which runs the farm. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass also went on the tour. Above, Allen, in purple, explains mushroom chandeliers to Mrs. Obama, as Kass, left, and Emanuel look on. Will Allen, the CEO of Growing Power, who is considered America's foremost urban ag expert, is in the tan jacket.

Above, Mrs. Obama views an area of Iron Street where kids learn to repair bikes, which are then used to deliver foods produced by the farm.

Erika Allen is Will Allen's daughter, and grew up farming with her father. She hosted the summit's morning roundtable discussion at the farm, where she, Kass, and Emanuel spoke with Mayors from eight cities about food access and economic issues. Mrs. Obama's goal of eradicating US food deserts by 2017 will "absolutely" be achieved, according to Kass.

Another Chicago stop for the First Lady...
Mrs. Obama's other closed press and unannounced stop during her Chicago trip was a visit to the 2012 national Campaign headquarters in the Prudential building. The stop wasn't noted on Mrs. Obama's schedule, and the pool reporter covering her visit had been dismissed. Mrs. Obama dropped by after speaking at a fundraiser, and arrived at 7:10 PM and departed at 7:45 PM, a campaign spokesman told Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet. "She spoke for about 15 minutes and shook hands," Sweet was told.

At 9:22 PM, @BarackObama sent out a message via Twitter: "The First Lady stopped by campaign HQ tonight on her way back to Washington to get us fired up. It worked. #Obama2012."

On Tuesday mid-day, before arriving in Chicago to make the closing remarks at the food desert summit, Mrs. Obama attended a campaign fundraiser in Detroit. 

*Official White House photos by Lawrence Jackson

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