Looking to interest your kids in fresh, local produce? Look no further than our Windom area farmers market for our 2020 Power of Produce (POP) program geared for kids ages 4-12!

The Power of Produce was an idea originally sprouted in Oregon City, OR in 2011 as a way to encourage families with children to visit their local farmers markets and support local produce vendors. The idea was brought to Minnesota in 2017 through a University of Minnesota Extension grant to implement POP programs at 14 farmers markets across the state. The idea was simple: offer money to allow kids to purchase their own produce once they complete an activity highlighting the market.

After the 2017 market season, the University of Minnesota Extension administered 357 surveys to POP participants and their families and discovered that 67% of the children who participated in POP throughout the market season were eating more vegetables. Children and their families weren’t the only ones to see the benefits of this program as approximately $10,000 was reimbursed to vendors throughout the 2017 season. The Extension Office expanded their funding opportunity to assist 30 farmers markets launch their own POP program in 2018 and saw significant increases and positive feedback from both participants and vendors. Parents of children who were consistent participants in the program use words like “empowered”, “ownership”, and “enthusiasm” when asked to describe their children’s experiences with being able to purchase their own produce. The program has also opened the door for conversations between children and local producers to help them develop an understanding of where their food comes from and, in some cases, motivate kids to start planting their own gardens.

The hospital has been fortunate to partner with our local University of Minnesota Extension office to bring POP to our farmers market for its 3rd year! While participation has been steady throughout the first two years of the program, we are hoping for bigger numbers as word of the monthly program continues to spread in the community. We have planned our activities to be single-use and encourage social distancing in light of current MDH and CDC guidelines for public gatherings but would LOVE to see families come and check out the farmers market! Truthfully, what better time to educate your kids on how to prepare and enjoy fresh, locally-grown produce while helping small businesses in our community?

Our POP dates are listed below for the rest of the 2020 market season along with the Windom farmers market hours. Feel free to implement any personal precautions you feel necessary to enjoy the outdoor market experience. If you have any questions OR have organizations interested in participating in our 2021 POP program events, contact Amber Hughes at [email protected] or call 831-0671. We’ll see YOU at the market!

By Amber Hughes

To learn more about other Community Health and Wellness Programs at Windom Area Health, Click Here.

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