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At Melania Trump garden event, echoes of Michelle Obama

When Michelle Obama officially said goodbye to the White House Kitchen Garden, many people wondered what would become of it in her absence.

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Kate Bennett (CNN's COVER/LINE)

When Michelle Obama officially said goodbye to the White House Kitchen Garden, many people wondered what would become of it in her absence.

"I am hopeful that future first families will cherish this garden like we have," Obama said at an October 2016 garden ceremony.

President Barack Obama mused during an interview that the entire garden could disappear under a Donald Trump presidency.

But it's now clear that first lady Melania Trump has no intention of razing the plot of land, which produces vegetables, herbs and fruits for use in the White House kitchen as well for local food banks that receive the bounty several times a year.

"I'm a big believer in healthy eating ... it encourages a healthy mind and body," the first lady told a group of about 10 children from a local chapter of the Boys and Girls Club of America on Friday afternoon.

The harvesting and planting event might have been Trump's first, but it felt reminiscent of those of Obama's tenure, perhaps a subtle homage from the new first lady to the old.

"Are you Melania Trump?" asked one of the children, who were all 10 and 11 years old.

Trump, looking a bit surprised at the first question she got from the kids, responded, "Yes! I am the first lady."

Trump put her arm around one young girl and walked with her to the green pepper patch, where the two plucked ripe peppers off the vines, the first lady sporting a pair of red gardening gloves that matched her red plaid shirt, which she wore with denim pants and navy blue Converse sneakers.

After a few minutes, she transitioned from harvesting to planting, kneeling in the dirt with other children to insert small clumps of broccoli into a fresh bed of soil. Later, she asked an aide for water.

"For you?" he said.

"No, for the plants," answered Trump, who was quickly presented with a giant watering can, which she poured over the bed.

East Wing communications director Stephanie Grisham told CNN Friday the children would each leave with a White House gardening kit, some of the vegetables they had harvested, and a small container of honey, made fresh by the White House bees, whose hive sits just feet from the garden.

The 1,100 square foot plot of land that Obama had developed on the South Lawn of the White House, in conjunction with her healthy eating platform, became source of passion for gardeners and politicians alike.

Vogue magazine penned an essay days before President Donald Trump's inauguration titled, "A Look Back at Michelle Obama's Vegetable Garden, One of Her First Accomplishments as FLOTUS," with a photo gallery 15 images to tell the tale of Obama and her relationship with the garden.

Meanwhile, conservative critics frequently cited Obama's garden in calling the Obamas hypocrites if ever they were seen partaking in junk food -- Super Bowl parties included.

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