Purple Asparagus Newsletter
January 2012
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It was a busy holiday season here at Purple Asparagus, as I'm sure it was for all of you. From baking holiday treats at home to giving demonstrations at classrooms around Chicago, we worked to balance our usual busy pace with a bit of relaxation to close out 2011.


The slower pace of life and cold-weather seasonal charms - snow! fireplaces! simmering soups! - inspires us to slow down and focus on the goals we envision for 2012. Last year we served 2,500 students in over 30 Chicago neighborhoods. We have some new opportunities and partnerships coming in the works that are sure to reach even more students in the coming year.

While we enjoy the stillness of the season, we wanted to share with you some recent news and upcoming events. Hope to see you soon!  


Melissa Graham
Head Spear, Purple Asparagus

Seeking a Few Good Spears 

TIME: We're always looking for a few good spears to help out with outreach, event planning and donations. Purple Asparagus is seeking the following volunteers:

  • Volunteers to help with coordinating Chefs in the Classroom
  • Volunteers to help with event coordination - for our major August 26 fundraiser, Corks & Crayons, and smaller fundraising events
  • Volunteers to compile an online resource for free cooking and nutrition education curriculum for children and teenagers. This is an important request from Sam Kass, White House Assistant Chef and Senior Advisor for Food Policy Initiatives for the International Association of Culinary Professionals and The Culinary Trust.
  • Volunteers to help with the coordination and execution of the Kids Corner for Family Farmed Expo's Good Food Festival
  • Volunteers to help out with school programs and on our program, marketing, and development committees

TREASURE: If time is in short supply, monetary donations can be made to our general fund. Purple Asparagus is now at a point where the demand for programming is beyond our capacity. Last year a number of programming requests were declined due to a lack of funds.

Our goal is to turn no school away, and with your support we can make this happen! Be sure to check your company's corporate giving policy - many employers match funds donated - and remember that all monetary gifts are 100% tax deductible.

Have old office equipment and furniture collecting dust? Consider donating them to our new headquarters - and first ever office space in the Green Exchange building at 2545 W. Diversey Ave., a LEED certified building.


If you are interested in volunteering or donating to Purple Asparagus, send us a note at info@purpleasparagus.com.


Chefs Move to Schools Chicago 

Last year, the "Chefs Move to School Chicago" brought cooking demonstrations, veggie tastings and healthy eating lessons to schools in many underserved neighborhoods. After spending the morning in the classrooms, local chefs joined school principals to discuss ways to advance healthy eating initiatives.

We are thrilled to announce that in 2012, Purple Asparagus will be one of the lead partners managing and executing this important program. In the works are many great partnerships with chefs from prominent restaurants around Chicago. Our first session of the new year will be in May 2012. Stay tuned for more information, and be sure to reach out if you'd like to get involved. 

Food Matters 

There's good news for kids (and their parents) who are enrolled in the Chicago Public School district. In November, CPS began serving unprocessed, scratch-cooked chicken purchased from the USDA and an Indiana-based Amish farm. This poultry is raised without antibiotics or hormones and marks an important step forward in the school lunch program. The children will enjoy this unprocessed chicken 2-3 times per month.


Donor Spotlight  Beth Aldrich: Real Moms Love to Eat
This month we're grateful for Beth Aldrich, Healthy Lifestyle and Nutrition Expert, engaging speaker, media personality and author of the book, Real Moms Love to Eat, which was released early this month. In her day-to-day work, Beth delivers engaging health and nutrition fundamentals through keynote addresses, lectures and as a media spokesperson. As an expert health and nutrition columnist for Diet.com, SocialMoms.com, HotMomsClub.com, 30SecondMom.com and RealMomsLovetoEat.com, Beth shares her wisdom, experience and knowledge about all things food and wellness.


In her free time, Beth runs, swims, knits, enjoys yoga, plays golf with her family, is challenged by Sudoku, prepares raw food recipes and has a passion for the Indiana dunes.
To buy her book, visit Real Moms Love to Eat. 
Volunteer Spotlight

Amanda Sudimack

Member of the Board of Directors, Chair of the Marketing Committee


Amanda Sudimack is a woman who wears many hats - both in her personal and professional lives and as a volunteer with Purple Asparagus. The mother of two, photographer, designer, wife and business owner of Artisan Events has been involved with Purple Asparagus since its inception.


Though she started out as a photographer and designer, her responsibilities have grown to include strategically managing the overall marketing, advertising and brand of Purple Asparagus as the chair of the marketing committee. She also serves on the board of directors. While the role is challenging because of the nature of non-profits - all-volunteer staff, shoestring budgets - Amanda brings these disparate efforts together into one cohesive, unified voice and look for the organization.


Amanda considers herself a primarily behind-the-scenes volunteer, but says she has the unique perspective of getting to see the hard work come to fruition from the sidelines. "Most of the time I am taking photographs of events in the classrooms and fundraising events, so I don't always have much interaction but I am able to watch children get something special, educational and valuable they're not getting anywhere else."


Amanda says she keeps her sanity in check by sitting down to a family dinner every night - something that was part of her family upbringing as well. "You have to make an effort, but coming together around the table for a good meal is such an important thing to stay connected with those you love."


Cook a Rainbow with Your Kids Purple Bean Soup
Looking for a warming soup recipe? Check out this delicious, nutritious winter soup from our blog, Little Locavores, and enter a chance to win a Today I Ate a Rainbow Kit. 
Thanks for your continued support.

Special thanks go to Erin Sarris of Spun Copy for putting together The Farm Basket.

Purple Asparagus