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Page last updated at 12:20 GMT, Thursday, 10 September 2009 13:20 UK

White House 'farmers market' plan

Michelle Obama planting vegtables with local school children, the White House garden, June 2009
Michelle Obama is leading a campaign to improve the American diet

A non-profit organisation has submitted plans to hold a weekly farmers market right next to the White House.

The move is being linked to US First Lady Michelle Obama's desire to raise awareness about nutrition and diet.

Media speculation that Michelle Obama has endorsed the market is rife but the White House has declined to comment.

A senior Washington transport official says it is his "understanding" there is a White House link. If approved, the weekly market will run until October.

The group, Fresh Farm Markets, has applied for a city permit to close Vermont Avenue, a street that flanks the north side of the White House, on Thursday afternoons for a period of six weeks.

Obesity issues

Earlier this year, Michelle Obama launched a campaign highlighting the need to tackle America's obesity problem, emphasising a healthy diet that includes fresh fruit and vegetables.

According to its website, Fresh Farm Markets shares similar aims.

Michelle Obama digs White House garden

John Lisle - a spokesman for Washington's city transportation department - says while it can not be confirmed "our understanding is that they [Fresh Farm Markets] are working with the White House".

Shortly after moving in, Michelle Obama decided to allot 1,000 sq ft (93 sq metres) of the South Lawn at the White House for the cultivation of organic fruit and vegetables.

Some of the produce has been used for official White House functions, reports add.



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