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Michelle Obama in Chicago Tuesday: Will visit South Side farm

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WASHINGTON-- First Lady Michelle Obama will visit a South Side farm and a Walgreens' store with an expanded food section when she returns to Chicago next week to highlight her "Let's Move" healthy eating and anti-obesity initiative.

This will be Mrs. Obama's first public event in Chicago since she has been first lady and the South Side location may be nostalgic for her since she grew up on S. Euclid in South Shore.

Mrs. Obama will also be headlining a fund-raiser for the 2012 re-election campaign next Tuesday at Plumbers Hall, 1340 W. Washington. Her food activities are part of a food conference in Chicago next week with mayors from the Chicago area invited to attend.

Mrs. Obama and Mayor Rahm Emanuel will visit Iron Street Urban Farms at 3333 S. Iron St., a farm on what had been an industrial site in Bridgeport. Emanuel used the farm at a July press conference to unveil his ordinance to make it easier to create fresh produce gardens in the city. The conference follows an Emanuel "food desert summit" he held last summer.

Walgreens' has already partnered with Mrs. Obama's programs to pledge to put in grocery sections in communities known as "food deserts," not served by local supermarkets. Before heading to Iron Street, Mrs. Obama will visit a Walgreens that has installed a prototype food section. Walgreens, based in Deerfield, has promised to put in food departments in 1,000 stores in underserved areas. Mrs. Obama will deliver summit closing remarks at the Walgreens.

Mrs. Obama will be bringing top Obama administration food policy figures to Chicago: Let's Move!'s Executive Director Judy Palfrey and Sam Kass, a Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives. Kass, a Chicago native, is also a White House chef who also was the Obama family personal chef when they lived in Chicago.

below, White House release....

Office of the First Lady
October 19, 2011

Advisory: First Lady to Discuss Access to Healthy Food with Mayors from Across the Country in Chicago

Washington - As part of her Let's Move! initiative, Mrs. Obama will travel to Chicago on Tuesday, October 25 to discuss access to healthy food with mayors from around the country. The First Lady has focused on the issue of access to healthy, affordable food as a key pillar of her fight to end childhood obesity within a generation. In July, Mrs. Obama announced that SUPERVALU, Walgreens, Walmart and independent retailers will be opening or expanding over 1,500 stores to serve approximately 9.5 million people in communities that currently lack access to healthy and affordable foods including fruits and vegetables.

In Chicago, Mrs. Obama and the mayors will visit a Walgreens that was expanded to include produce and other basic grocery staples. Prior to the store's expansion, there wasn't a convenient location in the community to access these types of healthy food options. This store is one of 10 prototype stores that helped launch Walgreens' commitment announced with the First Lady in July and is a model of what Walgreens plans to do in 1,000 stores in areas that need it most. At the store, Mrs. Obama will be delivering the closing remarks for a mayoral summit on access to healthy, affordable food.

Following her remarks at Walgreens, Mrs. Obama and Mayor Emanuel will visit Iron Street Urban Farms, a 7-acre site on Chicago's south side that produces local, healthy, and sustainable food year-round. Iron Street is also the Chicago headquarters of Growing Power, a company focused on making sure all communities have access to healthy food. The farm hires local residents to learn about and work on the land, and sells to local restaurants and markets.

Mayors from across the country will be gathered in Chicago for a mayoral summit where they will share best practices and explore new strategies that leaders can implement to support communities that lack the food they need. Many of these leaders know that access to healthy and affordable food is the cornerstone for economic development and neighborhood vitality, as well as key for solving the problem of childhood obesity. In addition to hearing from the First Lady on these vital issues, the mayors will discuss access to healthy food with Let's Move!'s Executive Director Judy Palfrey, Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass, HHS's Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh and Matt Josephs with the US Department of Treasury's CDFI Fund.

Currently, 23.5 million Americans - including 6.5 million children - live in low-income areas that lack stores likely to sell affordable and healthy foods. Studies have shown that limited access to healthy food choices can lead to poor diets, higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases. The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity Report to the President identified access to healthy, affordable food as key to solving childhood obesity. In addition to her announcement of private partner commitments, in February 2010, Mrs. Obama traveled to Philadelphia where she announced the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, a multi-million dollar public and private investment to improve access to healthy food. The President's 2012 Budget proposes funding for the multi-year initiative to increase the availability of affordable, healthy foods in underserved urban and rural communities.

Mrs. Obama's remarks at Walgreens will begin at approximately 2:45 PM CT/3:45 PM ET and she will visit Iron Street Urban Farm at approximately 4 PM CT/5 PM ET. Space is limited for Mrs. Obama's events, and media credential information can be received by e-mailing by 12:00 PM on Friday, October 21 specifying which event you would like to cover. Please note that there will be no remarks during Mrs. Obama's tour of Iron Street Urban Farm, and media will be unable to cover both the remarks at Walgreens and the farm visit. Press who do not have a White House hard pass must include their social security number, date of birth, country of citizenship, current city/state of residence and gender.

A full list of mayors attending the mayoral summit to be announced.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 19, 2011 6:04 PM.

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