A few weeks ago, towards the end of April, farmers’ market season came to bloom in the Knoxville area. Along with it was a new experience, geared primarily at children (though it truly promotes some great conversations and interactions with the adults that bring them in!), and we were lucky enough to test it out on its first day at Harvest Park Farmers’ Market.
The new program being offered this season is called PoP (Power of Produce) and it’s essentially a weekly kids’ club centered around healthy eating and local produce education. And it’s awesome if I didn’t mention that already.
The PoP site describes the club as “a fun opportunity for children to engage in the local food system through conversations with farmers, educational games and demonstrations, and exposure to new fruits and vegetables.” They totally hit the nail on the head during our first visit. My boys got to plant beans (and have since watched them grow every single day, to the dismay of my already crowded kitchen counter top).
They got to try a freshly plucked from the ground carrot, and best of all they each got $5 worth of ‘PoP Bucks’ which they used to select some new to them vegetables from the surrounding market. Those PoP Bucks work just like regular money at the Farmers’ Market and with the money they were able to buy dinosaur kale (the name is what got ’em), bok choy (stir fries ensued), and beet greens (which we were told to prepare like you would a collard green, but to expect them to be a little sweeter). We were not disappointed.
Now comes my favorite part: this whole thing is available weekly at many participating farmers’ markets and…IT’S FREE.
Whether you’re a homeschooling parent looking for a low-key field trip opportunity, an all out local foodie family, or are simply trying to encourage a little more food self awareness in your littles, I highly encourage you to check out Nourish Knoxville for more information, the current schedule and locations, and a bit more about why this program could be a great experience for your family.