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Obama Foundation Releases Plans for Fruit and Vegetable Garden Inspired by Mrs. Obama’s White House Garden

May 11, 2022 at 7:00 AM CDT

Eleanor Roosevelt Fruit and Vegetable Garden to be named in honor of the groundbreaking and longest-serving First Lady

Today, the Obama Foundation released renderings and details of the Eleanor Roosevelt Fruit and Vegetable Garden which will be located on the Obama Presidential Center campus. A video shared by the Foundation announcing the new space includes reflections by Mrs. Obama and Anna Roosevelt, granddaughter of Eleanor Roosevelt.

Located at one of the highest elevations in the landscape, atop the new Chicago Public Library branch, the Fruit and Vegetable Garden was designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. It will serve as a working garden for visitors to observe and participate firsthand in growing, harvesting, and preparing fresh fruits and vegetables – all in keeping with Mrs. Obama’s healthy eating initiatives and the White House Kitchen Garden she launched during her time as first lady.

The Garden, designed with input from key advisors at the Chicago Botanic Garden, will feature a variety of accessible planting beds for seasonal fruit and vegetables, a classroom for gardening, a picnic area, and a teaching kitchen, providing hands-on food demonstrations and growing workshops.

The Garden is named in honor of Eleanor Roosevelt’s commitment to fostering strong communities and her establishment of the White House Victory Gardens to combat food shortages during World War II.

“Eleanor Roosevelt’s legacy as a human rights champion and advocate for equality represents the values and mission of the Obama Foundation and what we hope to bring to life at the Obama Presidential Center,” said Obama Foundation CEO Valerie Jarrett. “The Fruit and Vegetable Garden is an important step in increasing access to nutritious options for community members, in addition to honoring the legacies of individuals who played a vital role in making our communities better, more equitable places.”

Themes of health, wellness, and environmental sustainability will also be woven within the Garden and throughout the Center and included in Museum exhibits, library programming, and outdoor activities—acting on the Center’s unique commitment to promote active community engagement across campus. The food grown in the Garden will also be used in the Center’s dining and food offerings for visitors.

The Obama Presidential Center broke ground in September 2021 and is expected to open its doors in 2025.

Renderings of the Fruit and Vegetable Garden can be found here (Opens in a new tab).


Contact: Courtney D. Williams, [email protected]