At Chicago Gateway Green we are grateful that to be a part of a community that has so many non-profit organizations doing some great work! To bring light to some of the great work being done, we sat down with Purple Asparagus to discuss their work.
We discussed Purple Asparagus’ mission, the impact Purple Asparagus has on Chicagoland communities, the upcoming “Give Delicious!” dining event at several Chicago restaurants on March 5th and Purple Asparagus shared a delicious recipe that is the perfect (and healthy!) snack for everyone.
Check out our complete interview with the “Purple Asparagus”:
1. What is Purple Asparagus?
Purple Asparagus is an award-winning non-profit that educates children, families, and the community about eating that’s good for the body and the planet. One of the main ways we fulfill this mission is through the Delicious Nutritious Adventures program. Through this nutritional education program, we visit elementary school students in the CPS area in some of the most underserved communities and have them taste new foods, learn where they come from, explain why these food benefit their bodies & give them ideas on how to make healthy meals using these foods at home. In some cases, the students we visit have never seen a fresh vegetable before—so it’s our job to educate them and give them the tools they need to live a healthier lifestyle and understand why healthy eating is so important.
2. What is the impact that Purple Asparagus has had on Chicagoland communities?
Each year, we reach almost 2,000 Chicagoland children through programs like Delicious Nutritious Adventures. Many of those children live in food deserts, where fresh produce is not readily available, accessible or affordable. Through our programs, we are able to give these kids a hands-on opportunity to explore and taste 40 different varieties of fruits and vegetables.
The good news is, the program works! Recently, the University of Chicago evaluated our Delicious Nutritious Adventures program and found that after a child completes the curriculum, about two-thirds of families make the wholesome recipes at home and about half the kids eat more fruits and vegetables than they did before the program. It is results like this that keeps us doing what we do every day. When we know we are making a difference in kids’ lives, it gives us more motivation to reach more children & spread the word about our mission throughout the Chicagoland area. The majority of our programs are offered free and are run by volunteers. We must continually fundraise so we can bring this program to more Chicago school children each year. We host an annual family friendly gala every August called Corks & Crayons to raise some of the funds needed to support our school programs.
3. How can we get involved?
While we visit many schools every year, we still have more than 30 Chicago schools on the waitlist for the Delicious Nutritious Adventures program, which is taught by an entirely volunteer staff. We are a non-profit and we rely on the generous donations from the community to help us further our mission.
In addition, on Thursday, March 5, those interested in helping Purple Asparagus can enjoy good food and Give Delicious! by dining at one of the following restaurants which will be donating a portion of their dinner proceeds to support Purple Asparagus:
· Bar Pastoral (2947 North Broadway Street)
· Belly Q (1400 West Randolph Street)
· Big Jones (5347 North Clark Street)
· Farmhouse Chicago (228 W Chicago Avenue)
· Floriole (1220 West Webster Avenue)
· The Red Lion Pub (2446 North Lincoln Avenue)
· Urban Belly (1400 West Randolph Street)
· Vera (1023 West Lake Street)
Family-Friendly “Purple Asparagus” Recipe
We always love to share our favorite recipes & this one is an easy-to-make, family-friendly one! Strawberry Salsa is the perfect (and healthy!) after school snack for the whole family & is a fun twist on a traditional snack.
Makes approximately 1 1⁄2 cups
3⁄4 cup strawberries cut into small dice
1⁄2 a tomato, cut into small dice
2 tablespoons diced red onion
1 tablespoon cilantro or mint, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lime juice
Whole grain tortilla chips
Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Serve with chips.