The Kids to the Farmers Market program kicked off Tuesday, Sept. 17 with 24 fourth grade students from James McHenry Elementary School. As social work interns with the Office of Government and Community Affairs, this was our first opportunity to interact with the population we’ll be working with this year.
We met the students at the University Farmers Market at University Park Plaza (across from the School of Social Work). We gave each student a drawstring backpack with informational sheets on healthy eating, in addition to $10 in “Farmers Market Bucks” to spend on foods they chose.
Divided into groups, the kids shopped, viewed a healthy cooking demonstration, and learned about proper portioning for fruits and vegetables. All of the students were fully engaged in the activities and were excited to both share their knowledge and learn about the importance of healthy eating habits. It was nice to see enthusiastic hands rise to answer questions about healthy eating at one of the stations, sponsored by the dietetic internship program at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
It also was wonderful to see students who took advantage of their free bucks to buy fruits and vegetables they’ve never tasted. Some were even excited to bring these items home to share with their family members. The “kids” purchased a variety of items including watermelons, ears of corn, apples, and kale.
As interns and coordinators of these events, we are eager to see how the student’s food and purchase selections change during the course of this program, as they learn more about proper nutrition and ways to incorporate fresh produce into their diets.