FAIRFAX — Since the age of 2, helping her grandmother mix and roll meatballs, Miranda Gallagher has felt at home in the kitchen.

Not long after that, the BFA-Fairfax fourth grader was making her own pancakes from scratch and lavender cookies, and helping her mother Genevieve with cutting and chopping dinner vegetables from their own backyard garden on weekend evenings.

That passion for cooking using local, healthy ingredients earned Miranda and her mother a trip to the White House this summer, where the two met First Lady Michelle Obama and ate lunch in a ballroom normally reserved for hosting official state dinners.

It started with an idea by Miranda’s mother, to enter the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge contest sponsored by Let’s Move, a government initiative launched by First Lady Obama to encourage healthy heating in schools and combat childhood obesity.

The contest asks that 8- to 12-year-old entrants create healthy lunchtime meals, keeping track of the nutritional breakdown as they add ingredients and putting it together in a recipe.

From over 1,200 recipe entries across the nation and Canada, one winner is picked from each state and province.

Genevieve doesn’t know how many entries came from Vermont. But in the spring the organization sent an email notifying Genevieve that her daughter won, encouraging her to video record her daughter’s reaction when she told her she was going to Washington D.C to meet the First Lady.

The video shows Miranda sitting in a freshly planted garden outside of their Fairfax home. At first she doesn’t believe it. Then she screams the way only an excited 9-year-old girl can.

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