Winters Farm to School will host its 8th Annual Summer Feast on Saturday, June 22nd. Held at the historic Wolfskill Ranch in Winters from 11:30 am until 3:00 pm, the Feast raises funds used to promote health and wellness programs for children in our local school district.
One of the programs benefitting from funds raised at the Feast is the weekly Kids Farmer’s Market. The Kids Farmer’s Market started in 2013 as a partnership between the Winters School District and the Yolo Food Bank. Every Tuesday, a big Yolo Food Bank truck would drop off several pallets of food to be distributed to students at Waggoner Elementary. The foods provided change every week depending on what is in season and available at that time. So students take home everything from fruits and vegetables to nuts, grains and legumes. On average, students receive five different food items weighing up to fifteen pounds per week!
“What makes our Kids Farmer’s Market unique,” says Cathy Olsen, Winters Farm to School Board Member and Food Service Director for the Winters School District “is the involvement of young students in the weekly food distribution. Kindergartners through third graders earn the privilege of getting to volunteer at the Market. And, in many ways, these young students have taken ownership of the Market! The participating student volunteers sign in with the Food Bank, put on their aprons and gloves, help to count and distribute the “play money” used to purchase items, decide which food they would like to hand out and help to move kids through the Market. It’s amazing to watch. Those student volunteers are learning valuable life-long leadership skills.”
The Kids Farmer’s Market has been so successful at Waggoner School that this year a smaller Market at Rominger School started for the after school program students. “Our hope is to grow the Rominger School Market to serve all of the students attending there” said Olsen. “That is a work in progress.”
“Our Kids Farmer’s Market benefits students and their families in many ways,” says Gloria Lopez, President of Winters Farm to School. “As noted, students get the experience of volunteering which builds self esteem. Families benefit from the extra food that comes their way each week and enjoy the fun of preparing the food together. Every week a recipe is given to the children and they report that often times they do make the recipe with help from their parents.”
“Another issue is that of hunger,” says Lopez. “One in four children in Yolo County experiences food scarcity in their home. And as we know from research in this area, hungry kids simply do not perform as well in school, have more behavioral issues in school and are absent from school more often. Kids who are hungry have a difficult time focusing on their lessons. So providing our school children with extra food at the Kids Farmer’s Market every week has become an important priority for our Winters Farm to School Program.”
Tickets for this year’s Feast are $100 per person if purchased on or before May 1, 2019 and $125 if purchased after May 1st. Tickets are available at ACE Hardware on Main Street in Winters, on line at wintersfarmtoschool.com or by calling 530-795-6109. The Feast has sold out every year so those wishing to attend are encouraged to purchase tickets early.