Photos from the fall harvest at the White House garden are here and they're super sweet.

This week, first lady Michelle Obama hosted students from four schools at the White House.

But this was not your average tour of the executive branch. These students got unrestricted access to one of the first lady's favorite spots: the White House Kitchen Garden.


Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

The garden is the first built on the White House grounds since Eleanor Roosevelt's famous Victory Garden during World War II. The garden quickly became a passion project for Mrs. Obama and inspired her Let's Move campaign to teach kids about staying active and eating fresh fruits and veggies.

With help from the first lady, students pulled peppers, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and even peanuts from the garden.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

And, this year, for the first time ever, the harvest went high tech.

As part of their new Expeditions Pioneer Program, a team from Google attended to shoot a virtual tour of the White House Kitchen Garden. Which means that, soon, kids from coast to coast can learn more about backyard agriculture and the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables thanks to the handy power of the Internet.

A camera captures a 360-view of the garden. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Mrs. Obama gives students the grand tour. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Of course, it wasn't all work. The students also had time to enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor.

After a busy harvest, the students sat down to lunch with the first lady. Together, they made a kitchen garden vegetable salad bowl with zesty chicken, quinoa, and farro (it's a mouthful to say and to eat!) from some of the greens and veggies pulled from the garden.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

I wish I were as excited for anything as Mrs. Obama is for salads. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Students have always played a big role in the White House Kitchen Garden.

The first lady broke ground and planted the garden with students in the spring of 2009, just months after taking up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.


The first lady and White House chef Sam Kass at the garden planting in 2009. Photo by The White House.

The White House Kitchen Garden has since expanded to include a wide array of deliciousness, including herbs, lettuce, collard greens, carrots, peas, flowers, and a beehive. Every summer and fall, students lend a hand.

Chefs in the White House frequently prepare meals using crops from the garden and even brew beer with honey from the hive. The Obamas also donate fruits and veggies to Miriam's Kitchen, which serves people experiencing homelessness in Washington, D.C.

Want to see the garden for yourself? You can!

If you just can't wait for Google's virtual walk-through, make plans to see the real thing.

Why should these adorable kids have all the fun? Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Tours of the White House Kitchen Garden are free and available to school and community groups with an interest in gardening or cooking with fruits and vegetables. Groups need to sign up in advance, and due to the number of requests, not every group can be accommodated.

But if you want to see how the first family eats, there's no better way.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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