Farmers’ Market Manager Christine Mercier and former Farmers’ Market Manager Korien Sampson talk to Rotary Club of Morinville members about their plans for two healthy choices programs for children. – Lucie Roy Photo
by Lucie Roy
Farmers’ Market Manager Christine Mercier is hoping to make the Morinville Farmers’ Market more of a community event and a family experience with new activities and a new Market Buds program.
The Market Buds and 2 Bite program empowers children to choose healthy foods and a healthy lifestyle, but the two programs need funding by the beginning of May if it is to proceed.
Mercier said the Market Buds program encourages children between the ages of 5 and 12 to attend the outdoor Farmers’ Market every week to learn how they can support local farmers and learn the value of a dollar.
When children arrive at the Market, they can proceed to the Market Buds tent to register and sign in and receive a $2 wooden token, which can either be saved or spent. Children receive a reusable bag when they sign up.
The token allows children to purchase from Market Bud approved vendors, those selling fruits, vegetables and fruit plants and not items like donuts. Should the child decide to save their tokens, they can build up their dollars and purchase more substantial products, including strawberry plants, blueberry bushes, and other approved items.
Each week children will find different activities such as seed planting or cooking demonstrations and learning about healthy living by participating in various activities.
Different groups will have the opportunity to take part in events with the children, such as Hoola Hoops, tag races, 3-legged races or teaching children about healthy activities.
A provided activity book covers everything from seed planting to understanding parts of the plant. The book includes
age-appropriate recipes that children can use cook for themselves with parental supervision.
Former Market Manager Korien Sampson said she believed if children buy the fruits and vegetables themselves, they will have a higher chance of actually eating it.
2 Bite Program
The Farmers’ Market also wants to get the help of vendors to implement a 2 Bite Program. Registered Market Buds participants can taste something completely new each week. Once they take two bites from any new vegetable or fruit, they can say what they thought of it.
Sampson said statistics indicate that the majority of children that tried a new food item will ask for that new food item.
The Market Buds program typically runs the entire 17 weeks of the outdoor Farmers’ Market from the end of June until early October.
The Morinville Farmers’ Market would like to offer this program to the first 100 children.
The Market needs $1500 in start-up cost, including the tent, signs, tokens, reusable bags, advertising and other one-time items. An additional $3400 is required to provide 100 children with $2 in tokens per week to use at the Market.
Funding for a minimum of 50 children is needed for the program to proceed.
The 2 Bite program would add $500 in costs for a total funding requirement of $5400.
Those donating funds for the program become a sponsor of the Market Buds program and will have their names listed on the Morinville Farmers’ Market website, Facebook page and on the sponsor board put out weekly at the Farmers’ Market.
For more information, contact Christine Mercier at 780-940-7166 or email email@example.com.