By Abby Massey
We were excited to welcome the United States Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin, on August 3, for the Summer Youth Program’s final Friday Community Lunch. The Crew Workers cooked a healthy lunch with Chef Ebeth Johnson of Whole Foods Market P St using produce from the farm, gave the Surgeon General a guided tour of the farm, and dined with her and community members.
Dr. Benjamin was excited to see that Common Good City Farm and the Summer Youth Program are embodying her Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation and the First Lady’s Let’s Move campaign. She said, “CGCF is helping you, the community members, meet your food needs by growing your own food, and educating community members by the hands-on training that you see right here, with food production, healthy eating and environmental sustainability.”
While she was on the farm, she spoke about her belief in the “power of prevention,” making sure that Americans are eating healthily and maintaining a healthy lifestyle so that they prevent overweight, obesity and diseases that are caused by unhealthy habits. But she urged the students to have fun with exercise and healthy eating instead of making it a chore.
The students took her words to heart as Hauwa Santuraki, age 15 said, “She also inspired me to set high goals and that if you feel strongly about something to just pursue it and strive for greatness.” Shireen Khayat, age 14, said “It meant a lot to me that she would come to our community lunch and support our initiative. I am really grateful for this experience.” Students felt honored that such an important official would come to the farm to learn about their work.
Students learned from the important words of Dr. Benjamin and appreciated her spending an afternoon with them but it is obvious that Dr. Benjamin was moved by the youths’ enthusiasm and knowledge gained throughout the Summer Youth Program.