On Saturday, August 11, the Farmers Market in Windom may have seen a few more kids and families than usual, due to the Power of Produce (POP) Club joining the Farmers Market. From 9:30-11:30 am, there were a total of 23 kids, ages 4-12, taking part in activities including a market vegetable scavenger hunt. The kids were also given $2 in market bucks to redeem their own produce picks at the Windom Farmers Market. The goal of giving these children the market bucks is to empower them to make healthier food choices by engaging in the market-based activities. Amber Hughes, Community Health and Wellness Coordinator at the Windom Area Hospital states, “children were excited to be able to pick out their own favorite fruit/vegetable using their POP Market Bucks.”

The POP Program is a national program designed to increase family participation at farmers markets, increase vendor revenue and build healthier communities. The program’s first weekend exceeded the expectations of the planning team. The program was started in conjunction with the Cottonwood County 4-H Program and the Windom Area Hospital. The goal these two organizations have in mind for the program is to provide an opportunity for any community organization to put their own twist on the activities to make the market fun for kids. The surrounding area has strong agricultural ties so the possibilities for these market activities are endless.

“We are hoping to build a program where everyone involved receives a benefit, whether it’s increasing vendor revenue, attracting more vendors to the market, promoting healthy eating behaviors or just having fun as a family while visiting the market,” says Hughes. The POP Program will be back at the Windom Farmers Market on Saturday, September 15th from 9:30-11:30 am and plans to offer activities highlighting different apple varieties.

For more information, you can call Amber Hughes at 507-831-0671 or Crystal Reith, Cottonwood County 4-H Program Coordinator at 507-831-4022.

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