Thanks to a $10,000 grant from Chevron, students at every elementary school in Marshall County are getting the chance to buy produce during the school day.
Through a collaboration of the WVU Extension Service and the Eye Foundation of America, youngsters receive vouchers to spend on fresh, local crops at a farmer’s market that has been brought to their school.
On Thursday, Hilltop Elementary hosted a “Kids Farmers Market.” The contribution made by Chevron allowed student to redeem $4.00 worth of coupons at the mobile market. While shopping, children were encouraged to purchase something they haven’t previously eaten. Students took the fresh fruits and vegetables home to share with their families.
The goal of the West Virginia Family Nutrition Program is to improve the health of children while giving the state’s farm economy a boost. According to a study by the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System, West Virginia ranks fourth in the nation for the number of adults who eat less than one fruit or vegetable every day. Without adult role modeling and access, children in the state are not likely to develop preferences for fruits and vegetables which impacts both health and potential. By providing children with buying power, the program potentially creates the next generation of healthy consumers while subsidizing local growers.
Farmers from Brooke, Ohio, Marshall and Wetzel counties participate in the “Kids Farmers Market” program including Struggling Acres in Cameron. Some fruits and vegetables came from the Marshall County WVU Extension Service’s Community Garden.