by Zane Peng
Inspired by the Kid’s Farmers Market model from West Virginia, South Plains Hunger Solution Coalition has been operating Kids Farmers Markets since 2019. After running some small markets from individual funding, the South Plains Hunger Solution coalition applied for and received a grant for $900 from the Lubbock Mayor’s Fitness Council in November of 2019. Between market availability and Covid-19 shut downs, any activities that would attract crowds, such as a kids market, had been paused.
Meanwhile, several organizations with the South Plains Hunger Solution Coalition all supporting the Roots Booker T. Washington Community Garden (Roots Historical Arts Council, Double Up Food Bucks West Texas, Voice of Hope and Growing Together Texas) had successfully held their first pop-up farmer’s market program to advertise the Double Up program and bring produce to a neighborhood with low access to fresh produce.
Based on the initial success and to continue bringing attention to the community garden as a source of food, the South Plains Hunger Solutions Coalition decided to include the Kids Farmers Market funding and promotion to the next event. Using a portion of the 900 dollars grant the coalition received from the Mayor’s Fitness Council of Lubbock, the coalition is able to give children who come along with their parents to the pop-up farmers market $5 vouchers to buy produce of their own choosing. And as the farmer’s market is located at the Roots Booker T. Washington Community Garden, the whole event also publicizes the garden to the local community as well.
The cherry on top of this whole initiative is that the participating producers are part of the Double-Up SNAP program. Not only will the Double-Up SNAP program help attract more of the families in underserved communities to come and visit the farmers market, but also many of these families will often bring their children along to visit as well. The hope is to create a positive cycle of educating children, especially those in underserved communities, of nutrition, food sustainability, and food production.
Amidst the colorful balloons swaying in the wind at the Roots Booker T. Washington Community Garden, the pop-up farmers market made its latest appearance on Friday April 16th, 2021. Thirty individuals, including eight children, visited the farmers market. Each child was given a five dollar food voucher to buy any locally grown product of their choosing. A balloon twister, lawn games, reusable grocery bags for shoppers, and prizes for the children, provided by DUFB West Texas, added to the festivities. As each child moved about and picked vegetables and fruits of their liking, this year’s farmer’s market in South Plains again provided a merry space for the local community to benefit from the programs South Plains Hunger Solution has to offer.
To learn more, contact Keith Timmer at firstname.lastname@example.org