KEY POINTS

  • Michelle Obama started the White House vegetable garden in March 2009
  • It supplies the White House kitchen with about 2,000 pounds of fruits, vegetables and herbs each year
  • Melania Trump maintained Obama's garden, which Jill Biden said is "going strong"

Michelle Obama's garden in the White House is still thriving after Melania Trump took over, and current first lady Jill Biden appears to be keen on maintaining it as well.

The White House garden became a topic of discussion in the past days after Biden sent Obama a basket of fresh vegetables harvested from the garden. The ex-FLOTUS showed off the gift on her Instagram, thanking Biden for the "wonderful and delicious surprise."

Obama started the garden in March 2009 on the South Lawn, becoming the first first lady to do so at scale in the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt, Vanity Fair noted. According to the National Parks Service, the garden still supplies the White House kitchen with about 2,000 pounds of fruits, vegetables and herbs each year. Those that are not consumed are donated to a food bank in Washington, D.C.

In her 2012 book "American Grown," Obama explained that she initiated what she calls a "learning garden" in order to spark more discussion on childhood nutrition.

"As both a mother and a first lady, I was alarmed about reports of skyrocketing childhood obesity rates and the dire consequences for our children’s health," she wrote. "And I hoped this garden would begin a conversation about this issue—a conversation about the food we eat, the lives we lead, and how all of that affects our children."

After Trump officially became the first lady in 2017, she decided to keep the garden. The former first lady public harvested the vegetables that Obama planted and even added cement reinforcements to make the garden permanent, according to Vanity Fair. Just like Obama, Trump is into healthy eating.

"I'm a big believer in healthy eating ... it encourages a healthy mind and body," Trump was quoted by CNN as saying during a planting event in September 2017.

At the time, Trump joined a group of 10 children from a local chapter of the Boys and Girls Club of America in harvesting vegetables and planting seeds at the White House garden, answering questions and kneeling in the dirt with them. The children later left with a White House gardening kit, some of the vegetables they harvested and a container of honey from the White House beehive.

In 2018, she also used vegetables from the garden for the Trump administration’s state dinner with French President Emmanuel Macron and first lady Brigitte Macron, Time reported.

More than a decade after Obama established it, the garden is still "going strong," according to Biden.

The current first lady said in People's latest issue that she and President Joe Biden have already eaten some meals made with the produce. She also invited Obama to "come over and help herself any time" to the vegetables.

"We've already eaten vegetables out of the garden!" she said. "The other day, I went down to the kitchen and they had a big bowl full of cauliflower and radishes. The garden is going strong!"

Melania Trump, seen here on January 20, 2021 which was the last day of her husband's presidency, cut a fashionable but distant figure Melania Trump, seen here on January 20, 2021 which was the last day of her husband's presidency, cut a fashionable but distant figure Photo: AFP / ALEX EDELMAN