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First Lady Gets Her Hands Dirty, Promotes Healthy Living in Chicago

Scott Olson/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The first lady looked as much fashionplate as farmhand as she toured Iron Street urban farm on Chicago’s Southside Tuesday.

There to support Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s effort to shrink “inner-city food deserts” (areas devoid of grocery stores and healthy food choices) and to advance her own agenda of healthy eating and fitness, the first lady toured the facility and learned about aquaponics, worm composting and various types of indoor agriculture, such as oyster mushroom chandeliers.

At one point standing over a compost pile, the first lady picked up a worm and said mischievously to the media, “It’s alive!”

Outside the large warehouse facility sit several greenhouses. The first lady went down rows of “curly” kale in one of them, getting guidance from farm staff tending these year-round crops.

Johnny Evans, 19, was one of them. He said he talked to the Michelle Obama about how “we grow these greens year-round in these greenhouses, all natural, no electricity. The compost keeps it warm.”

Michelle Obama looked sleek, comfortable and fashionable in black pants and a tan-and-black, nautical-striped long-sleeve jersey that gathered to a bow on her right shoulder.

At the event, the first lady joined with Emanuel to announce the opening of 36 new grocery stores across the city.

Her stop Tuesday is part of Obama’s national tour to promote her Let’s Move initiative. The campaign aims to promote healthy eating and exercise while combating childhood obesity. Earlier this month, Obama rallied with 400 children in an effort to break the world record for most people doing jumping jacks in a day, calling the National Geographic Kids-sponsored program “Let’s Jump!”

Tuesday night the first lady hosted a fundraiser for her husband in the Windy City.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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