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#ThanksMichelleObama is a satirical Twitter hashtag started by American high school student Hunter Whitney to highlight unappetizing photographs of public school meals in compliance with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s revamped guidelines for school lunches.
The earliest known use of the hashtag on Twitter can be attributed to Jessie Livesay, a mother of three and a high school teacher in Dayton, Ohio, who tweeted a message expressing her disapproval of the "new healthy food laws" on August 30th, 2011. The first notable wave of #ThanksMichelleObama tweets took place in April 2014, though it didn't gain much traction until months later, on November 13th, when Hunter Whitney, a student at Richland Center High School in Richland Center, Wisconsin, tweeted a photograph of a school lunch meal consisting of Spanish rice and an apple with the hashtag #ThanksMichelleObama (shown below):
In 2014, public schools across the United States began serving lunch meals with revamped nutrition standards in accordance with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, a federal statue signed into law by President Barack Obama in December 2010 which introduced a series of new standards for food sold on school grounds, including allocation of resources for schools to offer fresh produce through local farms and gardens and improving the nutritional quality of food served in cafeterias. The nutritional standard reform has been often credited to Michelle Obama as it has been a central tenet of her anti-childhood obesity campaign Let's Move!.
Throughout the following week in November, others students from public schools across the country began sharing photographs of their unappetizing-looking school lunch meals using the same hashtag. According to Topsy, #ThanksMichelleObama was mentioned more than 2,000 times in the month of November, which saw a huge spike in usage after BuzzFeed ran an article titled "Teens Are Sharing Gross Pictures Of Their School Lunches With The Hashtag #ThanksMichelleObama" on November 21st.
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