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Michelle Obama Returns to Chicago for Food Summit, Fundraiser

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First Lady Returns Home for Food Summit, Fundraiser

AP

First lady Michelle Obama holds up a worm from a compost pile as she visits Iron Street Urban Farm, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, in Chicago accompanied by student worker Jeremy Jackson and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

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First Lady Michelle Obama returned to Chicago Tuesday to attend Mayor Rahm Emanuel's "food desert summit" and raise money for her husband's 2012 re-election. 

Obama's first stop with Emanuel was at an expanded Walgreens offering produce and grocery staples.

"Think about all the neighborhoods that could be transformed because people want to live in communities where they have resources and a grocery store -- a good, quality grocery store is the first step," she said.

With Emanuel, she also made a scheduled stop at Iron Street Urban Farms, a program that grows and distributes fresh food year-round in Bridgeport.

Emanuel's meeting of 10 mayors and grocers from across the country at City Hall was meant to discuss the lack of fresh foods in poorer communities, an issue Emanuel has made a point of highlighting.

In June, the mayor met with CEOs from several major grocery chains to discuss eliminating food deserts in six Chicago neighborhoods. Since then, a new Walgreen's market has opened on the South Side and the city's first Super Walmart broke ground in West Pullman.

The summit falls in line with the First Lady's "Let's Move!" campaign to prevent child obesity. In July, she announced SUPERVALU, Walgreens and Walmart, among others retailers, would open or expand 1,500 stores to serve those in food deserts.

The First Lady adds that stores could make small changes like putting apples in the front of the store.

"If we transform eating habits for children today think about what they will do for their kids," said Mrs. Obama. "That's huge. I hope all of you will continue to lead the way. Kids lead the way; we are making progress."

Big Political Fundraising Week in Chicago

Also on the First Lady's Chicago agenda was an evening fundraiser for the presidential campaign at Plumbers Hall, at 1340 W. Washington. Tickets for the West Side event range from $100 to $10,000 for a photo reception for families of up to six.  About 500 people attended the event, which was closed to the press.

It's all part of a big political week in Chicago. GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain was in Chicago on Monday and Mitt Romney will hold an event on Thursday. Also Thursday, billionaire Warren Buffett hosts a suburban dinner for President Barack Obama.

Tuesday's event is the third 2012 fundraising event in Chicago for the Obama family. In April, Obama kicked off his re-election bid at Navy Pier. In August, he celebrated his birthday at the Aragon Ballroom.

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