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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Bikers In Wonderland:  Eat.  Ride.  Give. comes to Lewisville, Texas. 

LEWISVILLE – October 12, 2022 – The Mad Hatter, Alice, and The Queen of Hearts will be hosting Bikers In Wonderland:  Eat.  Ride.  Give., as they #rally4freshfood.  

Benefitting Independence Gardens’ nutrition programs that provide children in schools and communities access to fresh food, the chef-led event will be held on Sunday, October 23, 2022 at Wayne Ferguson Plaza(150 West Church Street, Lewisville, Texas 75057), Old Town Lewisville, from 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Chefs will create dishes based on characters from the book.  From The Jabberwocky to The Tweedles, attendees will sample dishes from the chef stations as well, including flavors from local brewery, Four Corners Brewing Company.  This family friendly outdoor event, produced by PTC Productions,  will also feature live music from local band, Karma Inc., biker showcase, costume character contest, and local vendors. 

“It’s a great opportunity for chefs to get involved with their local community and promote food education that supports nutrition programs that focus on the food they are learning to grow and cook.  It’s a personal investment on the future of our community” said Chef Oscar Miranda.  

Independence Gardens’ collaborates with chefs and local restaurateurs to make their hands-on programs a reality.  Proceeds from this event will go towards building additional edible outdoor learning spaces, provide hydroponic systems for schools, and the Come and Eat It Cooking program; with the overall goal of impacting over 10,000 children this school year.  

 Independence Gardens’ (IG) a 501c3 nonprofit parent-led organization funds experiential nutrition programs starting with their edible outdoor learning spaces. While school gardening is not a new concept, IG programs combine hands-on activities through The Apple Project (outdoor learning spaces), The Beanstalk Project (Hydroponic Systems in schools), and the chef-driven cooking program (Come and Eat IT!) 

“Finding ways to connect children to food, showing them the importance of how health and nutrition impacts their lives - is key to how they perceive the food they eat.”  said Chonnie Richey, Founder of Independence Gardens.  “As a community, we’re failing our children when even one of them goes to school hungry, or have no access to nutritious food. Independence Gardens has a chance to make an impact on childhood hunger and decrease the obesity rate through nutrition education programs, like the Apple Project. We challenge our children to dream big every day because they’re the ones that will shape our future. But how can they do that when they’re hungry or have to battle preventable diseases like obesity? They can’t. If we can add value and impact a child’s life with something as basic as access to nutritious food, we’ve already made a difference.”

Tickets can be purchased at:  www.bikersinwonderland.com 

 About Independence Gardens: Founded in 2013, Independence Gardens is a 501c3, parent-led organization committed to providing children in schools and communities access to fresh food through actionable, impactful, experiential nutrition education programs. 

Follow us:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Independence-Gardens-156393337870855/

Instagram:  @igardensrev

Twitter:  @iesgardens

website:  www.independencegardens.org

Hashtags:  #rally4freshfood#come&eatit#igardens #nutritioneducation #schoollunch

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Contact: Chonnie Richey, Founder, Independence Gardens                                                                                                                                                                                                        cell (214) 500-7206                                                                                                                                                                                                             chonnie@independencegardens.org                                                         pastedGraphic.png

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Come and EAT IT!  Chef-Led Nutrition Education Program Comes to Arizona

CHANDLER – May 1, 2021 – Take 100+ students, mix in two chefs passionate about fresh food, and a whole lot of fruits and vegetables - and what you get is a recipe for a fun, hands-on nutrition cooking program.   On May 20, 2021, Independence Gardens (IG), in collaboration with Aramark and Frontier Urban Farm are bringing together a team of chefs to the Chandler Unified School District to deliver, Come and EAT IT!, an interactive and impactful nutrition education program.

“The mission of Independence Gardens is to provide children engaging, impactful nutrition education programs by connecting them to the food they are growing and eating.”  said Chonnie Richey, Founder of Independence Gardens. “Every student whose school participates in our network have an opportunity to learn where their food comes from, through our outdoor edible learning program, and they also learn how to cook what they’re growing through our chef-driven live cooking program, Come and EAT IT!.” Independence Gardens (IG),is a 501c3 nonprofit parent-led organization, who funds experiential nutrition programs starting with their edible outdoor learning spaces.

Hydroponic Vertical Gardens is the newest IG program that launched in 2020 and will be offered in conjunction with a school nutrition program. The 15,000 square feet outdoor learning space planned for Rice Elementary in Chandler, Arizona will house these vertical gardens in their planned green house.  Frontier Urban Farm is proud to partner with local schools and health organizations, including Independence Gardens, to provide vertical gardens for the classroom as a way to promote learning, nutrition, sustainability, and a sense of community. (frontierurbanfarm.com) Frontier Urban Farm offers the community convenient access to fresh produce through easy, sustainable vertical gardens that grow year-round. The soul of our business is growing fresh produce without chemicals at any location, working together to support our local community, and contributing to the global food supply while reducing our carbon footprint on Earth.

Aramark, through their food service management partnership with Chandler Unified School, is excited to bring this program to Rice Elementary.  “We’re thrilled to host this program in collaboration with Independence Gardens and Frontier Urban Farms.  We want to provide the students a connection between the produce they’re growing in their vertical gardens and what they see in their on-site cafe,” says Jenny Bracamonte, Food & Nutrition Director for CUSD. Aramark hopes to expand similar nutrition education to all the elementary sites in the Chandler Unified School District next school year. 

Come and Eat IT! 2021, launching on May 20, 2021 at 9:00 -10:00 a.m., will showcase a dish reflective of the nutrition goals of Independence Gardens.  The recipe, for this hands-on cooking program, was developed by Aramark chefs and will use ingredients that is grown or will be grown by students within the Independence Gardens network of schools.

 Chef Tess Collins, Aramark Executive Chef, and Chef Subash Yadav, Chef/Owner, Sherpa Kitchen, Gilbert, AZ will lead the cooking program with over 100 Rice Elementary students as their sous chefs. 

 “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with these organizations to really help the kids make the connection from farm to fork,” says Subash Yadav

“Independence Gardens’ is very excited about how we are continually finding innovative ways to connect children to food,”  said Chonnie Richey, Founder of Independence Gardens.  “When we partner with school districts like Chandler Unified and collaborate with organizations, like Aramark’s K-12 Program, we start seeing the impact our programs have on nourishing the lives of every child in our community.”

About Independence Gardens:  Independence Gardens is a 501c3, parent-led organization whose mission is to connect kids with food through actionable, impactful school nutrition programs.  We are committed to partnering with schools in developing and implementing experiential edible gardening programs that will provide every student an engaging, meaningful and transformative educational experience.  This uninhibited learning  will be accomplished through working partnerships with our community and schools, aiding in implementation of curriculum that address sustainable and ecological gardening practices, and provide an avenue for students to develop life skills in areas such as nutrition, leadership, and decision making. www.independencegardens.org

Follow us: Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Independence-Gardens-156393337870855/

Instagram:  @igardensrev

Twitter:  @iesgardens

website:  www.independencegardens.org

Hashtags:  #independencegardens#come&eatit#igardens #schoolnutrition #nutritioneducation #comeandeatit 

About Aramark: Aramark is a global food service management company who specializes in curating specialized solutions for its partners.  Their primary focus is promoting student success through freshly made meals and nutrition education. 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/aramark

Twitter: @aramark

Website: www.aramark.com

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LEWISVILLE – April 18, 2019 – Data from national health and government organizations compiled by WalletHub.com, showing the relationship between obesity and states, noted that Texas came in at number two in the highest of obese children.  What is even more staggering is, according to America’s Health Rankings from the United Health Foundation, childhood obesity accounts for an estimated $14.1 billion annual medical costs.  

On May 17, 2019, Independence Gardens (IG), in partnership with Amerigroup and Aramark are bringing together a team of local chefs and more than 1,000 students in north Texas to rally for improved school nutrition education.  The Come and Eat IT! 2019 campaign will launch on this day with the help of 100 volunteers, Aramark, and Amerigroup, a leading coordinator of Medicaid benefits for Texas children and families.

“The main goal Independence Gardens is nutrition education.”  said Chonnie Richey, Founder of Independence Gardens. “It begins with our edible outdoor learning spaces and culminates in our Come and Eat IT! chef-driven, student-led cooking program.  There is a direct link with the lack of nutrition education and obesity.  We’re very excited to partner with Amerigroup, as well as our continued collaboration with Aramark, when we launch in 2019. Their commitment to initiatives that create healthier communities supports our overall mission.”

IG is a 501c3 nonprofit parent-led organization funds experiential nutrition programs starting with their edible outdoor learning spaces. While school gardening is not a new concept, IG programs combine not only the hands-on activities in their outdoor learning spaces, but also a hands-on cooking program (Come and Eat IT!) where students learn how to use the fruits and vegetables they are growing.  A program with 100 percent student participation, integrated into curriculum, and where the food is self-sustaining and healthy for the whole school. 

The Amerigroup partnership is even more important as Independence Gardens’ expands its nutrition education programs to reach more students as well as provide alternate ways to connect children to food.  A primary example is the addition of a Tower Garden, sponsored by Amerigroup, at the newest school in their network, Trivium Academy.  Trivium will have both an edible outdoor learning space and a Tower Garden on campus.  

“Independence Gardens’ is very excited about this new addition to how we connect children to food,”  said Chonnie Richey, Founder of Independence Gardens.  “When we can collaborate and partner with organizations, like Amerigroup, whose primary focus is improving health and wellness for their members, we start seeing the impact we can make on decreasing children’s obesity rates in our community.  Also, the support and partnership with Aramark’s K-12 program is so critical in our overall mission of improving school nutrition education.  Aramark’s “We Dream.  We Do.” motto is the difference that will ensure we make an impact in students’ overall well-being.”

Come and Eat IT! 2019, launching on May 17, 2019 at 8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m., will showcase a dish reflective of the nutrition goals of Independence Gardens.  The recipe, for this hands-on cooking program, was developed by local chefs and will highlight ingredients that is grown or will be grown by students within the Independence Gardens network of schools.  

Chef Casey Nicole, who serves as spokesperson and Advisory Board Member of Independence Gardens, will be one of the chefs leading the 2019 campaign.  “Come and Eat it is beyond just a garden and school lunch program. It shapes the future of healthy and sustainable resources within the school districts, teaching kids the importance of nutrition. School lunches have become this wave of what's convenient and fast- not nutritious. Independence Gardens’ Come and Eat It program advocates good choices while teaching kids the importance of a healthy nutritious lunch and the benefits of garden to table cooking. I have seen the magic in these children's eyes light up while doing cooking demos at the schools. The students are so eager to learn what they've grow in the garden can be turned into a meal they eat and can share amongst their peers. They were so excited they couldn't wait to go home and share what they made with their parents! I couldn't be more delighted to share this amongst the teachers, students and families within the DFW School Districts! 

 

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About Independence Gardens:  Independence Gardens is a 501c3, parent-led organization whose mission is to connect kids with food through actionable, impactful school nutrition programs.  We are committed to partnering with schools in developing and implementing experiential edible gardening programs that will provide every student an engaging, meaningful and transformative educational experience.  This uninhibited learning  will be accomplished through working partnerships with our community and schools, aiding in implementation of curriculum that address sustainable and ecological gardening practices, and provide an avenue for students to develop life skills in areas such as nutrition, leadership, and decision making. www.independencegardens.org

 

Follow us:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Independence-Gardens-156393337870855/

Instagram:  @igardensrev

Twitter:  @iesgardens

website:  www.independencegardens.org

Hashtags:  #independencegardens#come&eatit#lisd#igardens #schoolnutrition #nutritioneducation #comeandeatit 

 

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Contact: Chonnie Richey, Founder, Independence Gardens                                                            cell (214) 500-7206
chonnie@independencegardens.org 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Independence Gardens Welcomes Chef Cat Cora for the Exclusive North Texas Screening of A Fine Line to benefit Nutrition Education Programs

DALLAS – January 30, 2019– “Less than 7% of Head Chefs and Restaurant Owners are Women,” and the documentary, A Fine Line, explores this truth. 

Independence Gardens’ will be hosting an exclusive screening of this film at the Palace Theater in Grapevine, Texas, on Saturday, March 9, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. as part of its spring fundraising.  

A Fine Line is an acclaimed documentary that explores why less than 7% of head chefs and restaurant owners are women despite having traditionally held the central role in the kitchen. The film interweaves candid insights from world-renowned female chefs with a central narrative of a small-town restaurateur. This restaurateur is both a chef and single mom—and she is on a mission to do what she loves while raising two kids with the odds stacked mightily against her. A Fine Line opens up a timely discussion about equality in the culinary field and beyond.

“As a mom of two girls, this movie explores so many important questions whose answers have a direct impact to women’s lives today and in the future.”  said Chonnie Richey, Founder of Independence Gardens.  “Every time I watch the trailer of A Fine Line, I am in awe of the impact and contributions that women have had in the culinary world. Their connection with food drives their passion - so reminiscent of the mission of Independence Gardens.  We’re very excited to bring this exclusive screening to North Texas.  

The film’s collection of perspectives include:

    • Chef Cat Cora, First Female Iron Chef
    • Chef Dominique Crenn, World’s Best Female Chef
    • Chef Daniel Humm, World’s Best Chef
    • Lidia Bastianich, Restaurateur, Emmy Award Winning TV Host

View the trailer for the film at:  https://afinelinemovie.com

The Wine, Dine, and A Fine Line movie event will include Meet & Greet opportunities with participating local chefs, hear their stories, taste their culinary creations, toast their successes, and watch the film that gets to the heart of what is needed to empower women across all industries.  

Food Network’s first female Iron Chef Cat Cora will join a cadre of the most talented and influential chefs in Dallas including:  Chef Tiffany Derry, Chef Uno Immanivong, Chef Casey Nicole, Chef Jennifer Bajsel, Yasmin Wages of Malai Kitchen with more names to be announced.  Proceeds from the evening will support Independence Gardens’ nutrition education programs including their chef-driven, student-led cooking program, Come and Eat IT!.  

“A Fine Line, is more than just a movie.  It’s about women in leadership roles pushing the status quo and inspiring future generations.”  said, Chef Uno Immanivong.  “Being a single mom, it’s important for me to link our family’s history with the foods I grew up eating.  I hope that one day my daughter is able to share the same experience and excitement with her kids.”

Tickets can be purchased at:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wine-dine-and-a-fine-line-movie-screening-tickets-54744640694

About Independence Gardens: Independence Gardens is a 501c3, parent-led organization committed to partnering with schools in developing and implementing experiential edible gardening programs that will provide every student an engaging, meaningful and transformative educational experience. This uninhibited learning will be accomplished through working partnerships with our community and schools, aiding in implementation of curriculum that address sustainable and ecological gardening practices, and provide an avenue for students to develop life skills in areas such as nutrition, leadership, and decision making. www.independencegardens.org 

Follow us:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Independence-Gardens-156393337870855/

Instagram:  @igardensrev

Twitter:  @iesgardens

website:  www.independencegardens.org

Hashtags:  #comeandeatit#igardens #nutritioneducation #takebackschoollunch #womenwholead #chefswhocare

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Independence Gardens Present Come and Eat IT! Nutrition Education Program

LEWISVILLE – May 8, 2018 – One in three children in Texas is obese, and that is why Independence Gardens (IG) and a team of local chefs are bringing together more than 1,000 students from 11 elementary schools in north Texas to rally for improved school nutrition education on May 18, 2018.  The Come and Eat IT! 2018 campaign will also launch on this day with the help of 200 volunteers and support from their partners, Aramark, local Wholefoods, and Amerigroup, a leading coordinator of Medicaid benefits for Texas children and families.

Come and Eat It! is a fun, interactive, and tasty event that connects kids with the food they’re growing and eating. This connection is a critical step in nutrition education, which this program teaches through gardening and cooking.” said Chonnie Richey, founder of Independence Gardens (IG).  

IG is a 501c3 nonprofit parent-led organization funds experiential nutrition programs starting with their edible outdoor learning spaces. While school gardening is not a new concept, IG programs combine not only the hands-on activities in their outdoor learning spaces, but also a hands-on cooking program (Come and Eat IT!) where students learn how to use the fruits and vegetables they are growing.  A program with 100 percent student participation, integrated into curriculum, and where the food is self-sustaining and healthy for the whole school.  

“One of the main goals of Independence Gardens is nutrition education.”  said Chonnie Richey, Founder of Independence Gardens. “It begins with our edible school gardens and it culminates in our Come and Eat IT! Campaign.  There is a direct link with the lack of nutrition education and obesity.  We’re very excited to partner with these companies as we launch in 2018.  Their commitment to initiatives that create healthier communities supports our overall mission.” 

These partnership becomes even more important in campuses like Southridge Elementary.  In 2016, Independence Gardens added Southridge Elementary to their network of Community Gardens.  In a school and neighborhood where 71 percent of the student population is economically disadvantaged, IG created a program that provided students real life opportunities and addressed the lack of nutrition education.  

“Lack of child nutrition is an epidemic in our country and greatly affects people in poverty.” said Sarah Allen, First Grade Southridge Elementary Teacher and Independence Garden Board Member.  “There was a direct need for healthy foods for our students at Southridge, since most live in a food dessert (a grocery store is not within walking distance to their homes). 

On May 18, 2018 at 8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m., students will join local chefs as they prepare a dish that is reflective of the nutrition goals of Independence Gardens.  Local chefs will lead the students, from across the Lewisville Independent School District, in this hands-on cooking activity.  

Chef Oscar Miranda, owner of Wholesome Grub in Plano, Texas, will be one of the chefs leading the 2018 campaign.  “ Mother Nature provides all the food you need, so let’s take care of her - and part of that is helping children understand how the food they eat impacts their environment. Independence Gardens’ programs provides the connection children need to understand the relationship between the food they’re growing to the food they’re eating.  At Wholesome Grub, our company was established on the basic principle of sustainability and combining that with food nutrition density.  The Come and Eat IT program gives chefs the opportunity to channel their creativity into a rallying message for positive, impactful, and actionable change in nutrition education.  

 

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About Independence Gardens:  Independence Gardens is a 501c3, parent-led organization whose mission is to connect kids with food through actionable, impactful school nutrition programs.  We are committed to partnering with schools in developing and implementing experiential edible gardening programs that will provide every student an engaging, meaningful and transformative educational experience.  This uninhibited learning  will be accomplished through working partnerships with our community and schools, aiding in implementation of curriculum that address sustainable and ecological gardening practices, and provide an avenue for students to develop life skills in areas such as nutrition, leadership, and decision making. www.independencegardens.org

 

Follow us:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Independence-Gardens-156393337870855/

Instagram:  @igardensrev

Twitter:  @iesgardens

website:  www.independencegardens.org

Hashtags:  #independencegardens#come&eatit#lisd#igardens #schoolnutrition #nutritioneducation #comeandeatit 

Contact: Chonnie Richey, Founder, Independence Gardens                                                           

chonnie@independencegardens.org

 

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Independence Gardens and Amerigroup  Present Come and Eat IT! Nutrition Education Program

LEWISVILLE – May 15, 2017 – One in three children in Texas is obese, and that is why Independence Gardens (IG) and Amerigroup are bringing together more than 1,000 students from 12 elementary schools in Lewisville to rally for improved school nutrition education on May 19, 2017.  The Come and Eat IT! 2017 campaign will also launch with the help of 200 volunteers and Amerigroup on this day.

Come and Eat It! is a fun, interactive, and tasty event that connects kids with the food they’re growing and eating. This connection is a critical step in nutrition education, which this program teaches through gardening and cooking.” said Chonnie Richey, founder of Independence Gardens (IG).  

IG is a 501c3 nonprofit parent-led organization funds experiential nutrition programs starting with their edible outdoor learning spaces. While school gardening is not a new concept, IG programs combine not only the hands-on activities in their outdoor learning spaces, but also a hands-on cooking program (Come and Eat IT!) where students learn how to use the fruits and vegetables they are growing.  A program with 100 percent student participation, integrated into curriculum, and where the food is self-sustaining and healthy for the whole school. 

“One of the main goals of  Independence Gardens is nutrition education.”  said Chonnie Richey, Founder of Independence Gardens. “It begins with our edible school gardens and it culminates in our Come and Eat IT! Campaign.  There is a direct link with the lack of nutrition education and obesity.  We’re very excited to partner with Amerigroup as we launch in 2017.  Their commitment to initiatives that create healthier communities supports our overall mission.” 

“Amerigroup Texas is proud to partner with Independence Gardens to ensure that children in Lewisville learn to make healthy choices, by either growing or selecting nutritious food for their meals, so that they continue to live healthy lives,” said Amerigroup Texas President Tisch Scott

 This partnership becomes even more important in campuses like Southridge Elementary.  In 2016, Independence Gardens added Southridge Elementary to their network of Community Gardens.  In a school and neighborhood where 71 percent of the student population is economically disadvantaged, IG created a program that provided students real life opportunities and addressed the lack of nutrition education.  

“Lack of child nutrition is an epidemic in our country and greatly affects people in poverty.” said Sarah Allen, First Grade Southridge Elementary Teacher and Independence Garden Board Member.  “There was a direct need for healthy foods for our students at Southridge, since most live in a food dessert (a grocery store is not within walking distance to their homes).  When we heard about the programs Independence Gardens were providing students in our District, we knew they would be a perfect partner.”

On May 19, 2017 at 8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m., students will join local chefs as they prepare a dish that is reflective of the nutrition goals of Independence Gardens.  Local chefs will lead the students, from across the Lewisville Independent School District, in this hands-on cooking activity.  

“As a community, we’re failing our children when even one of them goes to school hungry, or have no access to nutritious food.” said Chonnie Richey. “Independence Gardens has a chance to make an impact on childhood hunger and decrease the obesity rate through nutrition education. We challenge our children to dream big every day because they’re the ones that will shape our future. But how can they do that when they’re hungry or have to battle preventable diseases like obesity? They can’t. If we can touch that child’s life with something as basic as access to nutritious food, we’ve already made a difference.

 -------------------------------------

About Independence Gardens: Independence Gardens is a 501c3, parent-led organization whose mission is to connect kids with food through actionable, impactful school nutrition programs.  We are committed to partnering with schools in developing and implementing experiential edible gardening programs that will provide every student an engaging, meaningful and transformative educational experience.  This uninhibited learning  will be accomplished through working partnerships with our community and schools, aiding in implementation of curriculum that address sustainable and ecological gardening practices, and provide an avenue for students to develop life skills in areas such as nutrition, leadership, and decision making. www.independencegardens.org

Follow us:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Independence-Gardens-156393337870855/

Instagram:  @igardensrev

Twitter:  @iesgardens

website:  www.independencegardens.org

Hashtags:  #independencegardens#come&eatit#lisd#igardens #schoolnutrition #nutritioneducation #comeandeatit  

About Amerigroup Texas:Amerigroup Texas helps improve health care access and quality for approximately 800,000 low-income Texans by developing innovative care management programs and services. Members are assured care that is not only accessible, but also accountable, comprehensive, integrated and patient-centered. Amerigroup Texas provides ongoing community relations and outreach to encourage members to become active participants in their health care. Through health education programs, members are empowered to choose and sustain a healthy lifestyle.

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Garden To Table 2017 Chef Matt McCallister joins Chef Robby Hooker, Chef Oscar Miranda, Chef Jennifer Bajsel, Chef Joe Baker, and others in the Independence Gardens 2017 Garden To Table Dinner

Independence Gardens announces 2017 Garden To Table Dinner to benefit Nutrition Education Campaign

LEWISVILLE – April 1, 2017 – In 2015, Sarah Allen, a first-grade teacher at Southridge Elementary in Lewisville, Texas had an idea.  In a school and neighborhood where 71% of the student population is economically disadvantaged, she wanted to create a program that gave her students real life opportunities and addressed the lack of nutrition education.  

“Lack of child nutrition is an epidemic in our country and greatly affects people in poverty.” said Sarah Allen.  “There was a direct need for healthy foods for our students at Southridge, since most live in a food dessert (a grocery store is not within walking distance to their homes).  When we heard about the programs Independence Gardens were providing students in our District, we knew they would be a perfect partner.”

Independence Gardens’ (IG), a 501c3 nonprofit parent-led organization, funds experiential nutrition programs starting with their edible outdoor learning spaces.  Their signature fundraising event, Garden To Table Dinner, will be held on May 6, 2017, at 6:30 p.m. on the grounds of the Community Gardens at Independence Elementary in Lewisville, Texas.  This year, Chef Matt McCallister, Owner and Executive Chef of FT33, will lead a cadre of chefs curating six courses inspired by fruits and vegetables grown in the community school gardens within the Independence Gardens network.  

While school gardening is not a new concept, IG programs combine not only the hands-on activities in their outdoor learning spaces but a hands-on cooking program (Come and Eat IT!) where students learn how to use the fruits and vegetables they are growing.  A program with 100% student participation, integrated into curriculum, and where the food is self-sustaining and healthy for the whole school. 

“One of the main goals of Independence Gardens is nutrition education.”  said Chonnie Richey, Founder of Independence Gardens. “It begins with our edible school gardens and it culminates in our Come and Eat IT! Campaign, a fun, interactive, and yummy event that educates students on the relationship between food and nutrition.  We’re very excited to add Chef McCallister to the lineup of chefs participating this year.  His approach to food is inline with IG’s Mission and Vision.  

“As a community, we’re failing our children when even one of them goes to school hungry, or have no access to nutritious food.” said Chonnie Richey. “Independence Gardens has a chance to make an impact on childhood hunger and decrease the obesity rate through nutrition education. We challenge our children to dream big every day because they’re the ones that will shape our future. But how can they do that when they’re hungry or have to battle preventable diseases like obesity? They can’t. If we can touch that child’s life with something as basic as access to nutritious food, we’ve already made a difference.”

Independence Gardens collaborates with chefs representing local restaurateurs to make their hands-on activity a reality.  Proceeds from this dinner will go towards building additional edible outdoor learning spaces and funding their Come and Eat It Nutrition Education programs. Their goal, 40 elementary schools will have this program within five years.  

Tickets are available for purchase at http://www.independencegardens.org/garden-to-table 

Join the conversation:

 Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Independence-Gardens-156393337870855/

Instagram:  @igardensrev                          Twitter:  @iesgardens

website:  www.independencegardens.org

Hashtags:  #takingbackschoollunch #come&eatit #lisd #igardens #gtt2017

 

 

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Apple Project Takes A Bite Out of Childhood Hunger

LEWISVILLE – October 11, 2016 – Independence Gardens’, a nonprofit parent-led organization launches it’s second edible school yard in the Lewisville Independent School District.  With local Home Depot stores as their build partner, the outdoor learning space at Southridge Elementary will officially open with a ribbon cutting on October 28, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.  

“The Apple Project is a great opportunity for us to tackle childhood hunger at a local level and the rising obesity rates in Texas.” said Chonnie Richey, Founder of Independence Gardens.  “One of the main goals of Independence Gardens is to connect children to the food they’re eating.  When this connection happens, nutrition education becomes part of their day-to-day.  More important, when 71% of the student population at Southridge Elementary is economically disadvantaged, they live in what some would call “food insecure households” meaning their access to nutritious food is limited or in some cases, none at all.  We’re here to change that.”  

A 2015 State of Texas Children report conducted by the Center of Public Policy Priorities states that the percentage of economically disadvantaged students in Texas increased in 2013-2014 (when compared to 2009-2010).  For these children that live in these households, this limited access to nutritious food can negatively impact their behavior and have a harder time focusing in school.  A similar report by the Food Research and Action Center shows that those in food insecure households, that are considered low income, are more vulnerable to obesity because of challenges they face including:  “cycles of food deprivation and overeating,” “lack of access to healthy, affordable foods,” and “ limited resources.”

Sarah Allen, Southridge Elementary First Grade Teacher spearheaded the project.  She states that,  “Our campus is excited to continue our partnership with Independence Gardens to provide nutrition based education to our students.  Working with Independence Gardens has been a wonderful partnership that will benefit our students for years to come.” 

Ninety percent of the plants in Independence Gardens’ outdoor learning spaces are edible.  A direct extension of the classroom, the experiential activities in these school gardens have been shown to improve academic achievement, create positive attitudes towards science and learning, and foster a pride of ownership of accomplishments in students.  Additionally, the community gardens concept engages parents, students, and the community while teaching students about healthy food choices and the positive impact of sustainable local food sources, as well as provide access to open spaces and outdoor recreation activities.

“As a community, we’re failing our children when even one of them goes to school hungry, or have no access to nutritious food.” said Chonnie Richey.  “Independence Gardens has a chance to make an impact on childhood hunger and decrease the obesity rate through nutrition education.  We challenge our children to dream big every day because they’re the ones that will shape our future.  But how can they do that when they’re hungry or have to battle preventable diseases like obesity?  They can’t.  If we can touch that child’s life with something as basic as access to nutritious food, we’ve already made a difference.”  

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About Independence Gardens:  Independence Gardens is a 501c3, parent-led organization committed to partnering with schools in developing and implementing experiential edible gardening programs that will provide every student an engaging, meaningful and transformative educational experience.  This uninhibited learning  will be accomplished through working partnerships with our community and schools, aiding in implementation of curriculum that address sustainable and ecological gardening practices, and provide an avenue for students to develop life skills in areas such as nutrition, leadership, and decision making. www.independencegardens.org

Contact:  Chonnie Richey, Founder, Independence Gardens

cell (214) 500-7206

chonnie@independencegardens.org