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April 2010 Newsletter 
Greetings and happy spring!

Aren't these heady days? The trees are heavy with blossoms, the tulips are representing, and the farmers' markets will be in full swing before we know it.

 Here, at Purple Asparagus we've been busy while enjoying these beautiful days and we wanted to share with you some upcoming events and important news.
What's on Your Plate?

We are please to co-present with My Foodshed.com What's on Your Plate, a documentary that follows two eleven-year-old multi-racial city kids as they explore their place in the food chain.  Sadie and Safiyah take a close look at food systems in New York City and its surrounding areas.  With the camera as their companion, the girl guides talk to each other, food activists, farmers, new friends, storekeepers, their families, and the viewer, in their quest to understand what's on all of our plates. All screenings are free and open to the public. Call now to reserve space at this weekend's screenings.


The Menomonee Club for Girls and Boys
Saturday, May 1 at 6pm

1535 N. Dayton, Chicago

(snack provided by Gourmet Gorilla)

For a full list of screenings, click here.

Call to Action: Go for the Gold!
 It's a really exciting time for childhood nutrition advocates.  First, the White House announced the Let's Move campaign.  Then, just a few weeks ago, CPS announced improved nutrition standards. These standards are set to exceed the Healthier U.S. School Challenge, Gold Standard for school meals.  Healthy Schools Campaign, a national advocacy non-profit, is working with CPS to formally adopt the Healthier US Gold Standard, which in addition to standards for the food program, requires health promoting nutritional standards for food sold outside of the federal food programs and the incorporation of nutrition education and physical activity into the school day.  The goal is to bring all relevant district policies into alignment with the Gold Standard and to challenge 100 schools to meet this standard over the next three years.
To meet this goal, we need your help.  Purple Asparagus looking for parents of children attending CPS schools who would like their school to achieve the Gold Standard.  Meeting the gold will bring recognition to your school from the USDA and will inspire other schools within the CPS system to make this step.   Together, we will learn more about the requirements and then work closely with Healthy Schools Campaign to achieve the Gold Standard for your child's school.
If you're interested in learning more or joining us in this challenge, please contact us at info@purpleasparagus.com.
Act Again! CPS Funding Crisis

 Make your voice heard about the CPS budget cuts.

Illinois is already 49th in the nation with its funding of education. These budget cuts will negatively affect our schools, neighborhoods and welfare of our city. If you want to make your voice heard on these cuts, go to www.NoTo37.org to tell your state representatives.
Act One More Time: Child Nutrition Act
The federal Child Nutrition Act, which funds all of the federal school meal and child nutrition programs, is up for reauthorization. Let's speak up for a robust bill that expands funding beyond the paltry amount given under the current law and finally provide money to the National Farm to Table program.  To learn more, visit Slow Food's Time for Lunch Campaign.
Purple Asparagus in the News: Growing Healthy Kids
Check out this Mindful Metropolis article about the Growing Healthy Kids coalition. Back in January, Purple Asparagus spearheaded a coalition of child nutrition and school food advocates called Growing Healthy Kids. At our inaugural meeting, we met at Logan Square Kitchen to discuss possible collaborative efforts to improve the health of Chicago's children. We are working towards creating a health fair open to parents, teachers, and administrators that will provide information about programs available for schools in Chicagoland.  Click here for more information about the coalition.
Growing Food and Community

Support Growing Home and meet author and activist Frances Moore Lappe. Growing Home, a non-profit that provides job training for homeless and low-income individuals in Chicago through a social enterprise business based on organic agriculture, is hosting its 8th annual benefit on June 3 at the Cultural Center.  For tickets and more information, click here.

Dueling Tamales 

This year kids have their choice of tamale classes on Cinqo de Mayo.


Join Purple Asparagus  for a fiesta of fun on Cinqo de Mayo at Smarty Party! Accomplished home cook Serena Beltz will teach kids 6-10 how to make two types of tamales and make guacamole from scratch. Enjoy all this with aqua de fresco ("fruit waters") and fun Mexican games.  To make a reservation and for more information, click here.
Or head to The Kids' Table, to make Cheese and Poblano Chile Tamales plus rice and beans.  Click here for pricing and more information.
So you don't like tamales. How about Indian breads?  The Kids' Table is hosting first-time cookbook author Anupy Singla for a parent/child class on paranthas, a deliciously healthy Indian bread! Paranthas are traditionally eaten in North India as a breakfast, but they're tasty, easy and versatile enough to be enjoyed as a quick meal or snack anytime.  Visit www.kids-table.com for more information.
Fresh and Tasty

 One of the best ways to ensure your family has fresh and tasty organic produce all throughout the growing season, is to join a CSA.  A CSA, short for Community Supported Agriculture,  allows you to make an upfront investment to ensure a weekly box of seasonal produce.  Numerous farmers offer these shares, but we're partial to friend and sponsor Harvest Moon Farms.


Not only do they have a ton of drop-off locations, they offer a broad variety of products.  You can get a fruit and veggie box, a grass fed meat share, or even a share for fresh flowers.  Click here to check it out.

Volunteer Opportunities
Purple Asparagus is growing by leaps and bounds and, as a result, we have a plethora of volunteer opportunities, including in development, PR, website management and, yes, even newsletter writing.  We also have some more immediate and targeted needs: 
Green Festival (May 22): we'll need a ton of volunteers to help kids make herb seed bookmarks.  Volunteers get free admission to the the festival in exchange for a two hour shift.
DFSS Mobile Fairs:  Purple Asparagus is teaming up with The Kids' Table and the Department of Family Support and Services for the Department's Mobile Fairs where we'll be teaching parents how to cook for their families in s healthy, nutritious, and economic way.  DFSS holds these mobile fairs once a month around the city. We need several volunters to assist with our demonstrations.
Roadshow:  We're on the road again. We're still finalizing our schedule, but we'll again be travelling to farmers' markets from Geneva to 61st Street showing kids and families how to make delicioius dishes using farm fresh produce.
Back to School: Even though we've only barely hit spring, it's never to early to plan for our school season.  As of now, it looks like we'll more than double our programs in schools, and so we're looking for a dedicated corps of volunteers to help us meet this need and expand further.
If you're interested in volunteering, please email us at info@purpleasparagus.com.
Save the Date

 Believe it or not, but the 6th annual Corks & Crayons is right around the corner.  Get ready to listen to great music, enjoy great food and beverages, and bid on some fabulous silent auction items on August 29, 2010 at Uncommon Ground.

Good Guide
Need something else for your wallet?  How about Sustainable Table's Glossary of Meat Production Methods.  Click here to download. 
Purple Asparagus
A non-profit organization dedicated to bringing families back to the table by promoting and enjoying all the things associated with good eating, eating that's good for the body and the planet.
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