Purple Asparagus Presents the Kid's Corner at @GoodFoodFestChi

By Bob Benenson and Kim Nemire, FamilyFarmed

Purple Asparagus — which will be presenting the Kids’ Corner at FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Festival in Chicago March 21 — is a nonprofit group that is dedicated to helping children develop good eating habits from the earliest ages.

Unlike a certain purple dinosaur, Purple Asparagus is named for a real plant, one that is sought after during its early spring season by food lovers. And that, in a sense is the point. The Purple Asparagus organization works to instill the message that real, wholesome, whole foods are the best for children and grownups alike.

Those efforts have been well recognized both locally in the Chicago area and nationally as well. Melissa Graham, the founding executive director and “Head Spear” at Purple Asparagus, received a Good Eating Award from the Chicago Tribune in 2011. The next year, the International Association of Culinary Professionals bestowed its Culinary Youth Advocate award on Melissa and Purple Asparagus.

Families can connect with Purple Asparagus at the 11th Annual Good Food Festival. In fact, Purple Asparagus got its start at the Good Food Festival 10 years ago. Its Kids’ Corner will offer children and parents a variety of healthy food-focused activities, featuring Great Scott (Miss Jamie’s Balloon-Twisting, Singing Farmhand), face painting, seed planting, a scavenger hunt, a reading corner, and arts and crafts.

This is just one of the features that make Family Farmed’s Good Food Festival one of the family-friendliest events around. Also on the Saturday program is a demonstration of Pilot Light, a program in which some of Chicago’s top chefs donate their time and efforts to help integrate food education into the curriculum at several Chicago public schools. Representing Pilot Light at the chefs’ demo will be program co-founders Matthias Merges of Yusho/BillySunday/A10 fame and Jason Hammel of Lula Café and Nightwood.

And for parents whose children are already interested in Good Food in a hands-on DIY fashion, there is the Good Food Commons. Organized in program areas such as “Make,” “Grow,” “Raise,” “Preserve,” “Compost,” and “Community,” the Commons enlist expert practitioners provide instructions and information that attendees can stay home and put to use in their everyday lives.

The Good Food Festival takes place on Saturday, March 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd, on the University of Illinois at Chicago campus. It is the big public celebration that is part of the Good Food Festival & Conference that runs March 19-21 at that location. For more information and to buy tickets, please visit the event website.

*Photo by Mike Stein. Momma Cuisine is a Media Sponsor of the Good Food Festival*

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