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Michelle Obama visits Inglewood on SoCal trip

February 1, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
First lady Michelle Obama visited the future site of an Inglewood market on the last day of her Southern California visit.

The Northgate Gonzales Market on the 10000 block of South Prairie Avenue still has some work to do before it opens to the public. Nonetheless, the first lady promoted the market's progress so far in offering healthy and affordable food options to a community that otherwise wouldn't have access to much.

"Thousands, thousands of families will be able to buy fresh fruit right in their own community, and it sounds like a very simple thing, but there are too many communities that don't have this kind of privilege, and I'm here today because I believe that every family in our country should have access to healthy food," she said, in front of a backdrop of colorful fruits and vegetables.

After arriving in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Mrs. Obama made her first appearance on the "Tonight Show," where she cajoled Jay Leno into nibbling on apples, sweet potato fries and a pizza made with eggplant, green peppers and zucchini, breaking his long-held aversion for all-things-healthy in his diet.

Leno once told a magazine he hadn't eaten a vegetable since the 60s, and he said he tasted his last apple in the mid-80s. That didn't dissuade the first lady, who's promoting her "Let's Move!" campaign to get kids excited about fitness and healthy eating habits.

She convinced Leno to dip an apple in honey made from beehives in the White House garden: "It will help it go down easier," she assured him.

"White House honey? That sounds bad," Leno joked. "You know, with a different president that could mean a whole different thing, 'a little White House honey."'

Last July, the first lady announced nationwide commitments to open or expand stores in areas with limited access to healthy food, like Inglewood.

Money for the Northgate Gonzales Market comes from the California Fresh Works Fund, a public-private partnership which has committed upwards of $20 million in financing to Northgate for its first three projects - one in Inglewood, and others in City Heights and South Los Angeles.

In addition to promoting her initiative during her Southern California swing, the first lady is also attending two events to help Democrats raise money for the upcoming elections.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.