White House Kitchen Garden

A vegetable garden with a wood trellis.
White House Kitchen Garden, 2017.



Planting the Seeds

The White House Kitchen Garden was planted on the lower South Lawn by First Lady Michelle Obama in 2009. The garden provides locally grown vegetables, fruits, and herbs for the first family and White House guests.

The garden continues a long tradition of growing vegetables and fruits on the White House Grounds. Even before President John Adams moved into the White House in November 1800, he requested that a vegetable garden be planted. Such gardens were located on the grounds throughout most of the 19th century. During World War II, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt planted a Victory Garden encouraging Americans to grow their own food to supplement food shortages during the war.


Caring for the Garden

The National Park Service cares for the White House grounds including the Kitchen Garden. Our team of dedicated professionals, many of whom have cared for the White House grounds for decades, maintains the soil, plants the crops, tends the garden, and harvests the crops with the White House kitchen staff.

Since the start of the Kitchen Garden, children have been invited to learn how food is grown by helping to plant and tend the crops. The lessons learned can help kids make good choices about the foods they eat.

The Kitchen Garden features a variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs. Today, the White House Kitchen Garden supplies about 2,000 pounds of food each year for the White House. Any food that is not used at the White House is donated to a Washington, DC, charity feeding those in need.

Close-up of the communal table in the White House Kitchen Garden.
The Communal Table, made of salvaged wood from prominent estates, evokes the American motto "E Pluribus Unum," Latin for "Out of Many, One."

NPS / Marcey Frutchey


The White House Kitchen Garden has evolved continuously since 2009, including expanding the garden and adding raised beds. The latest updates were made to establish an entrance and improve the access to the heart of the garden, where now there is seating for all from children to heads of state to enjoy.

Students at the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture got hands-on experience designing, constructing and improving the garden. The team of graduate students and faculty surveyed and analyzed the landscape, made construction drawings, and implemented their construction plan. The team used recycled or salvaged wood from locations including the estates of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and Martin Luther King, Jr. to build the tables, benches, and arbor. The project enlarged the garden to 2,800 square feet.

Through its Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, the National Park Foundation received a private donation to support the updates and future preservation of the garden.

Baskets of peppers, okra, tomatoes, and other vegetables on a table in the garden.
Produce from the garden, 2017.

NPS / Nathan King


The best times to get a close-up view of the White House Kitchen Garden are during the Spring and Fall Garden Tours, as well as the Easter Egg Roll.

Outside of these special events, you can catch a glimpse of the garden from outside the South Lawn fence. When standing within view of the White House along E St. NW, look to the left to spot the garden and the apiary.

If you’re interested in presidents and food, you will enjoy an exhibit at the White House Visitor Center about several presidents’ favorite meals. Find out which president’s favorite dish was squirrel stew!


What You Can Do

  • Plant your own kitchen garden. If you have the right space in your yard, you can build up your own vegetable garden. A wealth of books and online resources are available to help you learn how to get started, and your local garden center can be an excellent resource for advice and equipment.

  • Plant a container garden. If space is limited, you can grow many types of produce in pots or boxes out on your porch or balcony.

  • Plant in a community garden. Many communities have a public gardening space - the District of Columbia has twenty - and may offer community education courses to help you learn how to build up a garden, tend the soil, compost, and more!


White House Gardens

  • A patio area walled in by greenery.
    Children's Garden

    The young grandchildren of the President are commemorated with bronze castings of their young handprints.

  • Rows of flowering plants in front of the White House
    Jacqueline Kennedy Garden

    Sometimes referred to as the East Garden or First Lady’s Garden, a garden has been here since First Lady Edith Roosevelt's in 1903.

  • A row of flowering plants leads to the Oval Office.
    Rose Garden

    The current Rose Garden reflects a renovation in 2020 that was initiated by First Lady Melania Trump.


Last updated: September 21, 2023

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