November 2014
Current Programming
A Few Good Spears
Amazon Smile
Donor Spotlight
Volunteer Spotlight
Fall Recipe

How Are We Doing?

Want to know how we're making a difference? 

Click here to see the University of Chicago's findings about the impact of our Delicious Nutritious Adventures program.

Hello Purple Asparagus Supporters!

Fall is always an exciting time for us at Purple Asparagus because it means our Delicious Nutritious Adventures programming is in full-swing in schools throughout Chicagoland. Each year, I love meeting a new bunch of students and watching them develop into bona fide food explorers.


I invite you to come on Delicious Nutritious Adventures with us, either by joining our team of Volunteer Spears or by supporting our efforts through your generous financial donations.


We've made great strides in awakening Chicagoland kids' taste buds to new flavors and we couldn't have done it without your generosity. Thank you for your continued support.




Melissa Graham
Head Spear, Purple Asparagus


We are so excited that school is back in session and that kids all over Chicagoland are going on our Delicious Nutritious Adventures for the first time!


In October, we introduced the kids to apples and they learned to make Apple Snack Stacks. "They loved them! It was great to see the kids learn how putting ingredients together can have such a rewarding an unexpected result" said one of our classroom volunteers.


This month, we're awakening kids' palates with squash and pumpkin. After learning all about squash and trying it in several forms, one of several things they learn to make is a banana squash smoothie - something that truly surprises them! It's so simple, very delicious, and you can try it too! It's our fall recipe and you can find it at the bottom of this email. Enjoy!


Here are a few photos of our happy food explorers on their Delicious Nutritious Adventures.






2014 Corks & Crayons Committee



Want to step inside the classroom to take kids on a Delicious Nutritious Adventure?  Purple Asparagus is always looking for a few good spears to join us in the classroom as assistant instructors.  Assisting is a lot of fun and there's no commitment - we let you know in advance when our programming is running and you let us know if you can make it. It's that easy!  Please contact Stephen Landfear at or 312.906.7622 if you can lend a helping hand.



Do you love planning awesome events and working with a fun team of dedicated volunteers?  We are looking for some new spears to join our 2015 Corks & Crayons Committee to help plan and organize the family-friendly foodie event which will take place in August.  If you or someone you know is interested, please contact Stephen Landfear at



We're looking for a rock star intern to support our staff and Board this winter. It's a great opportunity for anyone who is passionate about not-for-profit work, food, and education. If you or anyone you know is interested, please contact Stephen Landfear at or 312.906.7622.




Purple Asparagus is experiencing growing pains! Right now, we have more than 30 schools on the waiting list for our flagship program, Delicious Nutritious Adventures. As part of the program, kids become true food explorers, sampling more than 40 different foods that are good for the body and the planet.


Each program costs Purple Asparagus approximately $5,000 per school.  Please consider making a generous year-end donation to support this important program and help us combat childhood obesity and other chronic health issues. Your gift will be fully tax-deductible.  


To make a donation today, please click here.  To set your company up with a monthly giving program or employee match, or to underwrite a school program, please contact Stephen Landfear at or 312.906.7622




Support Purple Asparagus by shopping at Amazon. Simply choose Purple Asparagus as your charitable organization and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible AmazonSmile purchases to us.  There's no cost to you!


AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same Amazon Prime benefits. Click-through below to associate Purple Asparagus with your account and start directing Amazon donations to Purple Asparagus today!




We want to share a big THANK YOU to one of our generous supporters, Chiditarod. This cleverly named foundation provided Purple Asparagus with a $3,500 grant to fund its Delicious Nutritious Adventures programming during the 2014/2015 school year.


Who is Chiditarod, you ask?

Loosely based on a parody of the Alaskan Iditorod but with shopping carts instead of sleds and a team of humans instead of dogs, Chiditarod fashions itself a food drive, a race for charity, a costume party, a bar crawl and an immersive experience with an impact that grows every year. The event draws together more than 800 people, including both participants and spectators, and has chosen Purple Asparagus as a beneficiary of its fundraising efforts.


Co-founder Devin Breen knew right away that Purple Asparagus would be a good fit for the event. "I don't think there's anything better than teaching our children, and if we can inspire them toward healthy, nutritious living we are setting them up for a lifetime of success," he said.


In 2013 the Foundation gave out $20,000 in grants to Chicago-based 501(c)(3) organizations combating immediate hunger relief, food scarcity and nutrition. Each team is required to start with a cart full of food for donation, which has resulted in more than 100,000 pounds of food donated since the event's 2006 inception.


But the participants make sure to have their fill of fun while doing good. There are pranks (think booting other teams' shopping carts of giving out false directions) as well as wacky themes that extend to the cart's decorations and the team's costumes.

Chiditarod returns March 7, 2015, and Devin says the founders are looking to up the ante again, raising more money and making even more of an impact to combat hunger and food issues in the city.


"We want to ensure no one goes hungry in Chicago," he said.  


For more information about Chiditarod and to learn more about how you can have a blast raising money for Purple Asparagus and other wonderful organizations, visit and sign your team up today!


Chiditarod's support of Purple Asparagus began in 2013 with a $5,000 grant to cover the production cost of training video for our volunteers.


Thank you to Chiditarod for your continued support!


The title of "Lead Instructor" initially intimidated Claudia Martin. Though she came across Purple Asparagus several years ago at a Farmers Market demonstration, she figured she wouldn't have time to participate in the classroom.


"But then I started thinking about it more and more," said Claudia, who has an eight-year old son. "I figure I can either work with my one child or I can work with 90 children throughout the year and feel like I increase the impact I make toward early exposure."


Claudia, who volunteers at A.N. Priztker Elementary School in Wicker Park, instructs three classrooms one day per month. As a self-employed interior designer, she says she's able to easily set her own hours but even if she worked a 9-to-5 job she said she would take the personal days to help out.


"It's a very consistent commitment, which is helpful for people who need stuff regularly scheduled," she said. "Purple Asparagus could easily get into more schools if it had more volunteers to step up and reach these children. And it's so easy - you pick up the supplies, containers and prep materials, head over to the school and start making an impact."


Claudia really enjoyed being able to stay with the same classrooms throughout the entire school year because she got to know the children and could observe their progress. The curriculum was presented in food groups so if a child didn't care for a certain way a food was prepared, there would be another recipe as well, for example, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin in a smoothie. There is also a story that ties together the theme for the month.


"By the end of the year I noticed students who used to be more hesitant would leap into new flavor profiles," said Claudia. "They had the vocabulary to describe their dislikes and likes in a more sophisticated way."


Now that she has taken the plunge, there's no turning back and she says she will definitely continue to volunteer as an instructor.


"For so many of these kids, it's the highlight of their month," she said. "I am really excited I bit the bullet, and I wish I hadn't have waited so long!"


Purple Asparagus is always looking for lead and assistant instructors.  If you or someone you know would like to learn more, please contact Stephen Landfear at or (773) 606-8543. 


Fall Recipe

Our recipes are a hit with adults too, and our Squash Banana Smoothie from our November Squash curriculum is an all-time favorite.

Squash Banana Smoothie 

  • 1/3 C Squash Puree (can be purchased in a can, or, you can roast and puree squash)
  • 1 Overripe Banana
  • 3/4 C Apple Cider

Puree all of the ingredients in a blender.  Serve with ice.

Thank you for your continued support! Sincerely, Purple Asparagus
The Green Exchange Building | 2545 W. Diversey Ave. | Suite 203 | Chicago, IL 60647 | | 773.991.1920

Thank you to Erin Sarris of
Spun Copy for her newsletter writing assistance.