Our Story Started The Summer of 2020...
The world fell out of balance, at least that is the way if felt for us in 2020. In the midst of a pandemic and racial justice uprising we decided we could do more. Urban Wellbeing is an organization bore out of a desire to build connection between communities that have felt so separated. The desire to feel well is something everyone can relate to. It is a desire that supersedes race, creed, religion or location. We are connected by our need to nourish our bodies and must understand how it affects the world around us, whether we like what we see or not.
Jenny, Lachelle and Suan are building Urban Wellbeing to bring important concepts to the forefront. We offer education that help you look differently about the choices we make surrounding food - how each decision affects more than our waistlines. With each educational offering we aim to inspire and motivate you to make small, sustainable, changes that will positively affect your life and that of our communities.
Urban Wellbeing is just beginning. It all started it because we want you to know how to chart a course to well.
Jenny Breen is the granddaughter of Eastern European Jews. She was raised in a home where history and culture were rooted in the concept of “Tikkun Olam”—the repair of the world. Food is also central to Jewish ritual. After living on a Kibbutz (communal farm) in Israel, food became even more important in her future work. She has been a professional chef for over 25 years, owned a farm to table restaurant and catering company from 1993-2013, attained Master’s degrees in Education and in Public Health Nutrition, and worked for the last 15 years at the intersection of cooking, health, sustainability, and justice. Jenny teaches three classes at the University of Minnesota and is an independent consultant working to integrate health and wellbeing, food systems and sustainability, and equity and justice in every food space, from community nonprofits to school classrooms/lunchrooms, local health departments, and health care institutions.
Find out more about Jenny’s work and collaborations at her website: transformingthetable.com.
Lachelle Cunningham has been a dynamic force in the Twin Cities’ food scene and is known for cooking globally inspired comfort food that thwarts unhealthy stereotypes and fuses in global flavors. She began her culinary career by launching Chelles’ Kitchen in 2012 and soon became known for her work as the founding Executive Chef of Breaking Bread Cafe (2015) in North Minneapolis, where she received many accolades for her food creativity and social justice work. In 2018, Chef Lachelle began building The Healthy Root Institute, with a mission focused on healing and social justice through food education, culinary arts, and entrepreneurship. Through the Healthy Root Institute, Chef Lachelle curates cooking workshops and retreats, teaches culinary arts and food business classes, and also provides human resources, menu development, and operations consulting to local restaurants and food service establishments.
Suan M Taylor Kregel has been described by many as a swiss-army knife when it comes to wellbeing, life, and business. Born in Texas to a West African immigrant mother and yogi father from Wisconsin, her life has been anything but ordinary. Her multicultural, bi-racial, and transcontinental upbringing has shaped the unique way she sees the world. Suan learned about cooking techniques and cuisine from the global flavors prepared in her mother's kitchen. She was taught that food is more than flavor, it is deeply rooted in culture, nourishment, identity, and a sense of belonging. She knows that healing justice is embedded in the emotion food inspires.
She writes about her personal experiences with advocacy work, race, identity, and culture through her website and social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Suan has a Bachelor's degree in Health Sciences and over 10 years experience as a wellbeing and strength coach. She has personally trained as a power/olympic lifter, boxer, competitive bodybuilder, and dancer.