Improving the diets of children in Ventura County.
Overview: The Kids’ Farmers’ Market Program is a hands-on approach to improving the long-term diets of children in Ventura County. A two-pronged approach, the program not only provides nutrition education, but also allows participants to take fresh produce home in order that they may put what they learn into practice.
The educational aspect of the program details how fruit and vegetables are grown, how they are cooked and used and what makes them nutritious. Educational activities also promote fresh produce as an alternative to processed food. The program offers opportunities for question and answer, and encourages participants to taste seasonal produce. Also incorporated into each distribution are recipes and a seasonal newsletter to take home and share with family.
What is the aim of the program?
- Increase awareness of the importance of eating fruit and vegetables
- Encourage long-term nutritious eating patterns
- Create fun and new opportunities for learning about nutrition at school and home
- Give children the confidence to try different products
- Promote gardening as a resource for producing healthy foods
- Teach children about the seasonality of product
- Provide fruits and vegetables for home use
How many children/families will be served?
The program is tailored to serve between 50-100 children at each site. There are currently 10 Kids’ Farmers’ Market sites throughout Ventura County.
Host site partners: The host site partner consists of a youth agency, serving low-income and at-risk youth. Site partners are a key link between Food Share and program participants. The host site partner must be capable of safely handling, displaying and distributing fresh produce as well as providing adequate number of volunteers to set-up and oversee distribution of produce.
Responsibility of Food Share of Ventura County
- Deliver fresh produce at agreed upon day and time to host site partners location
- Maintain productive relationship with host site partners quickly addressing issues that may arise
- Ensure nutrition educators are capable of providing information and activities related to health and nutrition
- Maintain productive relationship with nutritional education partners through regular communication and meetings
Program Assessment: Upon kickoff of program, voluntary questionnaires are collected from participants to assess current diet and knowledge of nutrition. Upon completion of the school year, questionnaires are distributed and re-assessed to determine growth in nutrition knowledge and practice of participants. ‘Show-of-hands’ assessments are conducted at each class.
*Expansion of the Kids’ Farmers’ Market program is dependent on funding.