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Fans of White House Garden Hope New Tenants Keep It Green

But the White House Kitchen Garden is one Obama-era legacy that may not be plowed under. Still, those outside the White House who support the garden are seeking creative efforts to keep it an East Wing priority.

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The current first lady, Melania Trump, is settling into the White House and has yet to officially embrace the garden.

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Al Drago/The New York Times

The White House garden “made such a positive impact on low-income students — on how they view themselves,” Mrs. Colbert said after her daughter had returned to the White House two months later to harvest and cook vegetables with Mrs. Obama’s friend Rachael. (Yes, Rachael Ray, the celebrity chef and talk show host.) “Many of them don’t see vegetables in their daily meals, but Endya came back with all these healthy recipe ideas that I didn’t even know how to make!”

Sam Kass, the former executive director of the Let’s Move! campaign and former White House chef, said sowing those habits was what Mrs. Obama’s initiative — and the garden itself — was all about.

“She was quite serious, always, about delivering real results, about making it easier for families to raise healthy kids,” Mr. Kass said. “You saw her out there, digging and planting, chopping and eating with the kids — it kept us grounded in those principles.”

In the physical and financial sense, the garden’s preservation is guaranteed. In October 2016, W. Atlee Burpee & Company and the Burpee Foundation, its philanthropic counterpart, jointly donated $2.5 million to the National Park Foundation to ensure care for the plot for years to come.

According to Mrs. Trump’s communications director, Stephanie Grisham, the White House kitchen will cook with the homegrown vegetables and will donate the remaining harvest to charity. Ms. Grisham also said that the Trump family planned to continue the educational nature of the garden.

But the White House’s June harvest was carried out solely by the National Park Service, and administrators at the local Bancroft and Tubman schools, whose students frequented the garden over the last eight years, said they had not been invited back since the transition.

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Michelle Obama and some students harvesting the kitchen garden in 2016.

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Doug Mills/The New York Times

Other student programs that had been invited to the garden in the past, including Edible Schoolyard New Orleans — Endya Colbert’s program — also have not been contacted.

“It remains to be seen what Mrs. Trump’s priorities will be,” said Claudia Barker, the executive director of Edible Schoolyard. “I would certainly hope — but I wouldn’t say I’m hopeful. This is an administration that basically wants to reduce or eliminate free school meals for impoverished children.”

George Ball, the chairman and chief executive of Burpee, the patch’s donor company, is hopeful for an East Wing encore. Mr. Ball, who has tried to nudge Mrs. Trump toward gardening through op-ed articles in regional newspapers, is now hoping to support the garden by helping the new first lady reconnect with her roots.

The company will dispatch representatives to Mrs. Trump’s hometown in Slovenia in pursuit of the Raka red onion — a rare Egyptian-Slovenian crossbreed first developed by the first lady’s grandfather, on the family farm where her mother once worked.

Mr. Ball said it could take several visits before negotiations with the Slovenes were successful. But he said he considered it worthwhile, expressing concern that the multilingual international model who left Slovenia two decades ago might be feeling homesick.

“Once I learned about her horticultural heritage, I didn’t need to think about it for more than a few minutes before I thought, ‘Wow, this is a great idea,’” he said. “Imagine, for Melania — trying to adjust to a new life in a new town — it’s a little bit of home, growing right in her backyard. We are taking this trip on the chance that she will be, we hope, delighted.”

He added, “But if she doesn’t accept, I don’t care, I’m just excited to see it — it’s supposed to be a really amazing onion.”

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