Kids Farmer’s Market
Exciting things are happening with our Kids Farmer’s Market! The weekly Kids Farmers Market at Waggoner Elementary School has been such a hit that we expanded in 2019 to include students from Rominger School. That means we will be serving over 340 students per week!
The Kids Farmer’s Markets are so much fun! Most Tuesdays, right after school, children Pre-K through fifth grade, join us outside the cafeteria at Waggoner School where the Kids Farmer’s Market is set up. All of the food provided at the Kids Farmer’s Market is supplied by the Yolo County Food Bank. Each week, the Food Bank brings a truck full of fresh fruits, nuts, grains and vegetables grown on nearby farms. Every child takes home over ten pounds of fresh food per week! For the past couple of years, Winters Farm to School has funded a Kids Farmer’s Market Coordinator position to ensure that the market runs smoothly, that volunteers are in place, and that the markets continue to thrive.
Here’s how the markets work: Each child participating brings his/her own recycled bag. By bringing their own bags, the children learn the importance of recycling and reusing materials. Before the market starts, with their empty bags in hand, every child is given a small amount of play money that they use to “buy” all of the items at the market. By having the children “pay” for the produce with their play money, they are using their math skills and are also learning about exchanging money for goods received.
With bags ready and play money in hand, the kids start their shopping! One week they may take home apples, green beans, rice, walnuts, carrots and onions. From week to week, what’s offered at the markets changes depending on what is available at that time. Because of that, our students learn about growing cycles and what kinds of crops are harvested in different seasons of the year. Once a month, a farmer is invited to help at the market. The kids love talking with the farmers and learning about how their food is grown. Having farmers on site is a great way to connect our kids to the deep agricultural roots in Winters.
Along with the food, recipes are handed out so the kids can cook some new dishes with their families. We have had parents tell us that their children will ask them to buy fresh vegetables after trying new things at the Kids Farmer’s Market. It’s exciting for kids and their parents to cook new dishes together!
Part of what makes the KFM so special is that students get to help at the market. They take volunteering very seriously! Although adult volunteers are there to assist, many of the young volunteers come with their minds already made up about what job they want and how they will do it. It has been a delight to watch them take ownership of the market. They are learning great skills and are blossoming as future leaders.