Monday, May 6, 2013

Community Nutrition Partnership in running for Share the Good grant, seeking community support via online voting!

Community Nutrition Partnership (CNP), a non-profit based in Chapel Hill, has entered the Seeds of Change® Share the Good grant program, a nationwide grant program offering organizations a chance to receive a $25,000 grant or one of 15 $10,000 grants to support and develop sustainable community based gardening and farming programs, and efforts to help teach people where their food comes from.  Share the Good works to enhance the environmental, economic and social well-being of gardens, farms, farmers and communities.

CNP submitted an application explaining how they would use a $25,000 grant to achieve its goals and is now asking the community for support through the public voting phase on Facebook. CNP uses market-based approaches to increase access to fresh, local, affordable healthy food.  One of CNP’s main programs, the Veggie Van, brings reduced cost locally-grown produce, recipes, cooking demos, and nutrition info to underserved communities. This grant would enhance and expand Veggie Van to more communities.  Additionally, the funds would be used to host customer workshops such as “Meet Your Farmer” and “Container Gardening,” translate nutrition education materials into Spanish, and rent another van to reach more areas.

From now through May 17, people have an opportunity to vote once per day for the organization they feel most deserves to receive a grant based on the organization’s demonstration of how the grant would help it to achieve its goals. After voting closes, the top 50 organizations with the most votes will move on to a final judging phase, after which the grant recipients will be announced on or about June 4. 

To vote for CNP:
1) Visit and “LIKE” the Seeds of Change Facebook page.
2) Search for Community Nutrition Partnership using the zip code 27514 or name.
3) Click the "VOTE" button!

The Share the Good grant program is funded by Seeds of Change® “1% Fund,” the company’s commitment to donate one percent of net sales to support community-based nutrition, gardening and farming programs.

About Community Nutrition Partnership
Community Nutrition Partnership (CNP) is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization based in Chapel Hill. CNP’s mission is to grow healthier communities by increasing access to fresh, local, affordable foods for people of all incomes and backgrounds. We work in communities with limited access to healthy food. We help increase supply and demand for healthy, local food through twomain programs: Veggie Van and Cooking Matters. Veggie Van delivers weekly boxes of fresh, locally grown produce at discounted prices to convenient locations like churches, housing communities and clinics.  We offer recipes, cooking demos, nutrition information on-site. Cooking Matters is a cooking and nutrition education program for children, teens and adults. These 6-week class series are taught by volunteer chefs and nutritionists and include hands-on cooking and discussion of nutrition and healthy eating habits, menu planning, and food budgeting.  Cooking Matters participants receive food to take home so they can try the recipes they learned in class with their families.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

First Annual Local Chef Challenge Sells Out and is a Culinary Success!

Check-in for the Chef Challenge
Last Thursday, Community Nutrition Partnership (CNP) hosted their first annual culinary showdown and raised funds to help increase access to healthy foods in underserved communities.  Five chefs competed in the Challenge using North Carolina produce. Daniel Grodence of  Southern Rail, James Naquin of Guglhupf Bakery, David Wimmers of Saint Jacques French Cuisine, John Eisensmith of Six Plates Wine Bar, and Vimala Rajendran of Vimala's Curry Blossom Café all served delectable, healthy dishes that were voted on by judges and attendees.  The sold out event included over 200 attendees judging on the “People’s Choice” award and judges voting on their favorite dish!

The Chef Challenge sold out with 200 guests!
Chefs were given five ingredients from the weekly Veggie Van boxes and asked to combine them to create a signature dish. Veggie Van is CNP’s version of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture); each week Veggie Van delivers reduced cost boxes of fresh, seasonal North Carolina produce to communities with limited access to fresh healthy food. For the Local Chef Challenge, the Veggie Van brought chefs a selection of carrots, white sweet potatoes, red kale, rutabagas and red radishes to work with.  Produce was provided by Eastern Carolina Organics and The Produce Box.

Chef Naquin served a delicious sweet potato tartlet with roasted rutabagas, glazed carrots and red kale salad.  Chef Wimmers added NC flare to French cuisine with his chilled root vegetable napoleon and sweet potato carrot cake topped with fresh carrot juice caviar. Chef Eisensmith brought out some NC braised pork belly to go with his local produce: roasted carrot and rutabaga puree, wilted red kale salad with honey champagne vinaigrette.  Chef Grodence wowed the audience with his handmade roasted rutabaga ravioli in a brown butter sauce with a side of white sweet potato sticky tortina and braised kale salad. Chef Rajendran added some spice with her red kale bhaji, beef curry with roasted rutabagas, sweet potatoes, carrots and onions.

Chef Naquin's delectable dish!

Mary Johnson Rockers entertained the audience with her toe-tapping, American Folk music.  In addition to the local produce, attendees had the chance to try one of Carrboro’s newest breweries, Steel String Brewery.  Dinner was topped off with local rum cake from Shez Moi, mini tarts from Sweet T a Cakery, cupcakes from Kelley G’s cupcakes, and Bean Traders coffee.

Mary Johnson Rockers

Judges Lucia Leone (CNP President), Ed Brantley (Chef and Biggest Loser contestant), and Sharon Mahofski (Cooking Matters instructor)  chose a winner based on healthfulness, creative use of vegetables and overall taste.   Dr. Leone said, “Picking a winner was difficult because all the chefs worked so hard, but I was impressed by how Six Plates integrated the flavors of all five veggies into one simple, cohesive dish.”

At the end of the night emcee Heba Salama announced the winners.  The Judges Award went to Chef Eisensmith of Six Plate Wine Bar and the People’s Choice Award went to Chef Grodence of Southern Rail.  Chef Rajendran of Vimala’s Curryblossom Café was only one vote behind first place!  After Chef Grodence was presented the People’s Choice Award, Southern Rail staff said, “We are all so proud of Dan! He faces all the challenges of cooking in a narrow hot train car with smiles, camaraderie and a wonderful attitude.  Congratulations!”

Chef Grodence, People's Choice Winner
To sum up the night, Krista Evans, UNC surgery resident stated, “Good food, good friends, GREAT cause!”

All proceeds from this event directly benefited CNP’s mission to grow healthier communities by increasing access to fresh, local, affordable foods.  For more information about CNP or to make a donation, please visit

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Local Chef Challenge -- Raising Funds to Improve Access to Healthy Food!

 April 25, 2013, 6-8:30PM 
 Location: Extraordinary Ventures
  200 S Elliott Rd  Chapel Hill, NC 27514   
Chapel Hill, NC, April 2, 2013Community Nutrition Partnership (CNP) is hosting a culinary showdown! The best and brightest local chefs: James Naquin of Guglhupf Bakery, David Wimmers of Saint Jacques French Cuisine,Vimala Rajendran  of Vimala's Curry Blossom Café, and Daniel Grodence of Southern Rail will serve up delectable dishes made from local, fresh, healthy produce. Their final creations will be kept under wraps until the evening of the event for all to enjoy. Attendees get to be the judge and vote on their favorite dish!

In addition to the local fare, Steel String Brewery will serve up some tasty suds. Mary Johnson Rockers will play toe-tapping music. The local food, music and beer will be sure to make for the best Thursday evening you'll have all year. We will have an envious silent auction line-up, too.

The evening will begin promptly at 6:00 pm with appetizers being served, while guests peruse the silent auction item tables. Chefs will be announced shortly afterwards and guests will be able to sample and vote on their favorite small plate dish. The winner will be announced at 7:45 pm. The guests will be invited to stay and enjoy local dessert and coffee while they place their last silent auction item bids until 8:30 pm. Meanwhile, throughout the entire evening Mary Johnson Rockers will entertain the event and guests can participate in activities centered on healthy eating.

Ticket purchases will afford guests the following:
- Appetizers
- Three small plates of local food
- Local beer from Steel String Brewery (cash bar)
- Dessert from Shez Moi and
Sweet T a Cakery
- Coffee from Bean Traders
- One drink ticket good for one glass of wine or local beer
- Silent auction items – Place bid and purchase raffle tickets for larger items
- Live music performance by Mary Johnson Rockers

Tickets can be purchased through Tickets are $25 until the day of the event. Tickets will be $30 at-the-door.

All proceeds from this event directly benefit Community Nutrition Partnership's mission to grow healthier communities by increasing access to healthy, local, affordable foods. 

Community Nutrition Partnership is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in Chapel Hill, NC.  To make a tax-deductible donation, please click here.