Youth Chefs, Gardeners Host 2nd Annual Eats and Beats Dinner to Benefit the Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative

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Media Contact:Julie McWilliams | | 215-898-1422May 4, 2009

PHILADELPHIA -- High school students from the Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative’s youth development program, part of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania, will host their annual benefit dinner, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Saturday, May 9, at the Calvary Center, 48th Street and Baltimore Avenue.

Eats and Beats 2009 will feature a four-course, family-style Moroccan meal, highlighting local and seasonal flavors, with appetizers and desserts provided by local restaurants and businesses. Also planned are a multimedia showcase of student work, a silent auction, a raffle and traditional music by percussionist Gina Ferrera on the gyil, an ancient mallet keyboard from northwest Ghana. Vegan and gluten-free meals will also be available.

Proceeds from the Eats and Beats 2009 benefit dinner are used to help students continue their mission of growing and harvesting food from their urban gardens and spreading the word on eating and cooking in a health- conscious manner.

The students are trained AUNI interns, who work in high school gardens, a culinary setting or one of the two student-run seasonal farmer’s markets that feature produce grown in gardens located at Sayre and University City High schools. Student interns are helping to change their community through peer-nutrition education outreaches and manning several in-school fruit stands.

“The Eats and Beats 2009 benefit dinner will provide a platform for students to showcase their culinary and gardening skills while earning far-reaching recognition and monetary support,” Danny Gerber, AUNI director, said.

Last year’s sold-out event raised enough to fund five students’ travel to the Rooted in Community conference in San Francisco. This year’s proceeds will fund student intern travel to national food systems conferences and trainings, including this year’s Rooted in Community conference in Boston.

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society recognized AUNI's garden at University City High School as the "Best School Garden” in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008. The program has won several other awards.

AUNI is a university-community partnership that engages students from kindergarten through college in an active, real-world, problem-solving curriculum that strives to improve community nutrition and wellness. AUNI activities are a major component of the Netter Center’s university-assisted community schools program.

AUNI serves more than 10,000 students every month by means of school-day lessons, after-school programs and summer learning opportunities in 20 Philadelphia public schools.

Additional information is available at