Must! Charities Youth Board Continues to Serve in our Community

Throughout the month of April, several members of our youth board volunteered at a few of our sponsored Children’s Farmer’s Market Sites.¬† In 2015, must! charities partnered with The Food Bank to Create 9 new Children’s Farmer’s Market Sites.¬†Located in high-needs communities, the Children’s Farmer’s Markets serve as a hub where children can learn about nutrition, cooking demonstrations, tastings, and more. This program encourages children to shop for nutritious food, support local farmers, learn and play while reinforcing the importance of healthy eating.

Throughout SLO County, farmer’s markets are plentiful thanks to the increased demand for local produce by a booming population of food conscious consumers. The demand for produce spans all income brackets, yet the abundance of farmer’s markets in our county does not mean increased access to fresh produce for all. For many low-income residents, the cost and accessibility of fresh produce is a deterrent that makes this dietary staple a fleeting luxury.

To address this issue, The Food Bank launched its Children’s Farmer’s Market program in the Spring of 2014. This program provides students in participating schools located in low-income communities with 15 pounds of monthly produce in a farmer’s market setting. Similar to a real farmer’s market, students are provided a reusable bag and mock money, or ‘Food Bank Bucks’ to be able to choose which produce and the amount they would like to take home to share with their families.

Long lasting effects of the Children’s Farmer’s Markets include a change in eating habits toward healthy choices and an increase in appreciation for local farmers and local produce.