On the fourth Saturday in April, the sun was shining and the weather was warm enough to trade coats for shorts.
At the local farmers’ market, people casually walked to each booth, looking for the best deal for fruit, vegetables and whatever else caught their eyes. Parents were there with their children, who followed them with eyes wide open, taking in all the sights the market had to offer that day.
On this particular Saturday, there was a special booth just for kids.
There, Lexi Purchase, a 5-year-old with blonde hair and a smile, excitedly talked about her favorite foods while carefully slicing strawberries and bananas — her favorite fruits — with a plastic butter knife.
“I am making a strawberry-banana quesadilla,” she said.
The Power of Produce (POP) Club is back at the Cotton Mill Farmers’ Market at 401 Rome Street in Carrollton. The POP Club is a nationally recognized program to empower kids to make healthy food choices. The free program, which is for children ages 4 to 12, began in 2015.
Kids may sign up and participate in the POP Club on the first and third Saturdays of each month from 9 to 11 a.m. through Sept. 3. The club provides an opportunity for children to engage in the local food system through fun learning activities. Tanner’s Get Healthy, Live Well teamed up with the Cotton Mill Farmers’ Market and Get Healthy, Live Well volunteer Caron Connelly to launch the POP Club in 2015.
“Our goal is to teach them healthier food options, where their food comes from, where it grows, different ways to use it,” said Connelly. “We also want to give parents ideas of ways that they can give their kids a healthier breakfast.”
For example, instead of a Pop Tart for breakfast, they can make a quick quesadilla with fresh fruits. After participating in the activities, each kid receives $2 in POP Bucks to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ market.
Each week there is a different activity in which kids can participate in, like making kale chips, potato pets and zucchini race cars.
Back at the POP Club booth, Purchase talked about her favorite vegetables — broccoli and carrots. As she continued to talk, two things were clear: she loves to cook with her mother, Rachel Purchase, and visit the farmers’ market with her grandmother, Kristi Galloway.
“Cooking is my favorite thing to do,” she said.
Get Healthy, Live Well is funded in part by a Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH) grant from the Centers for Disease Control. For more information, visit www.GetHealthyLiveWell.org or email [email protected].