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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.  



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.


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Contact: Chonnie Richey, Founder, Independence Gardens                                                   


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