Posing with “Rita Book” Bookmobile and two POP Club chefs are (left to right):  House Representative Maida Townsend, POP Team coordinator Liza Elman, SB Farmers Market Manager Kindle Loomis, and Children’s Librarian Meghan Paquette.

SB Farmers Market Program Returns –With More Buying Power for Kids

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Thursday May 30, 2013

Sunday June 2nd the weekly South Burlington Farmers market arrives for its second season in the Middle School parking lot on Dorset Street.  There will be lots of familiar faces, a few new ones, and the Community Library’s “Rita Book” bookmobile will be open for business.  

And this season, some of the shoppers perusing the produce will look quite a bit younger. 

Together with the nonprofit Common Roots, the Farmers Market is introducing a new POP (Power of Produce) Club--open to all South Burlington kids ages 5 through 12--with the goal of “putting produce buying power directly in their hands,” explains Farmers Market Manager Kindle Loomis. The club will give kids the equivalent of “a little money of their own” to spend each time they visit the market, she explained, helping connect kids –and their families—with fresh, local food. 

Kids who sign up at the Market’s POP Club tent to become members will receive a reusable canvas shopping bag and a $3 token to spend at any produce vendor at the market.  And, at subsequent market visits, they can check in and receive another $3 token to spend—potentially obtaining over $60 in local produce by the end of the season.   

Kids can also participate in fun, educational activities at the POP club tent such as food tastings, cooking demonstrations, crafts and games—all with a focus on wellness, Loomis added.  “It really complements the food education Common Roots has been doing in our classrooms.” 

Why focus on kids?  Studies show that children have a powerful influence on how their families eat, since parents generally buy what their kids want to eat.  (“That’s why the fast food industry targets so much of its advertising to kids,” declares Loomis.) Putting fresh produce in children’s hands can help foster a lifelong love of healthy foods, she adds.  “The more often kids are exposed to new foods, the more likely they are to accept them. Behavioral scientists say ‘six to stick, and eight to take,’ – in other words, you need to try something new at least six to eight times before it becomes familiar and accepted.”

Membership in the POP club is on a sliding scale based on household income, ranging from zero to $25 for the full 15-week season. Any South Burlington child aged 5 through 12 is eligible for POP club membership, says Loomis, “and all the farmers are excited to meet them!”

“Rita Book” at the Market

Also parked on many Sundays throughout the Market’s season is “Rita Book,” the colorful South Burlington Community Library Bookmobile, stocked with offerings to lend on a day the library is typically closed. Loomis appreciates the synergy of having “Rita” there. “The bookmobile attracts new customers for us who’d come to get a book--and likewise, folks coming to the market can also find some great summer reading.”   


SOURCE:  Common Roots