Yolo Food Bank’s Kids Farmers Market Program Will Soon Expand to Include High Schools in Vulnerable Neighborhoods
Yolo Food Bank’s Kids Farmers Market program is a free, school-based farmers market that provide preschool and elementary school students access to local produce and nutrition education. Currently, the Kids Farmers Market program serves more than 2,600 students monthly at 18 school sites in Yolo County. In realizing that more had to be done to reach low-income populations and food insecure households, the program hopes to expand in the way of quarterly farmers market events at local high schools.
This innovative program model aims to reduce the stigma of food insecurity by normalizing access to free, local food. Students will have an opportunity to take home 5-8 pounds of local produce – mostly donated from local farms – and recipe cards that will teach them how to prepare and cook the food. In addition to the produce and recipes, a culinary component will be incorporated in the form of a chef demonstration often working with the high school’s local culinary arts programs. The program is unusual in that it gives young students the opportunity to learn about food preparation and nutrition in a way that’s both interactive and fun. Increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables by educating youth populations is another important outcome in this effort.
Yolo Food Bank will be launching the School Farmers Market program this spring at River City High School on April 26. The new program will be made possible by The Building Owners & Managers Association of Sacramento and the Central Valley (BOMA Sacramento). President Patrice Griffith and other members of BOMA approached Yolo Food Bank in an effort to address food insecurity locally while creating a replicable model with potential to grow countywide.
“Our hope is to kick off this program and to seed additional sponsors in order to develop a replicable program model that feeds more families across Yolo County,” said Executive Director Karen Baker. “We hope others will join BOMA Sacramento by sponsoring a School Farmers Market in their city. It’s exciting to work collaboratively with Patrice, her creative passion has sparked a wonderful idea that we are looking forward to implement.”