By Himanee Gupta-Carlson
School’s out for the summer. No lunchboxes to fill, no homework, fewer structured activities, and more free time. It’s a perfect time to add a Wednesday family outing to the Saratoga Farmers’ Market for the Power of Produce Club.
Power of Produce, or POP, is a free 12-week program at the market. It begins next Wednesday, June 26, and runs through early September. The goal is to help children learn more about where their food comes from.
Children can join the POP Club by visiting the Saratoga Farmers’ Market with their parents. Each time members visit the market they receive a $2 POP coin that can be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, children receive a POP passport that is stamped at each visit. After receiving four stamps, children are eligible for a prize. Although the club is open to children, it is especially geared toward those aged 5-12.
Buying produce with a POP coin gives children a chance to meet farmers, learn money skills, and make smart food choices.
In addition to the POP coins, the POP Club features weekly activities and music. The Christopher Dailey Foundation sponsors the program and several community partners host the club’s activities. Opening day will feature music by first-time market performer Jeannine Ouderkirk, a Humpty Dumpty craft activity sponsored by the Saratoga Springs Public Library, and a sampling of Shushan Hydro Farms’ cherry tomatoes.
Julia Howard, formerly the market coordinator, started the POP Club at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market four years ago. This summer, her five-year-old daughter Taiga will be a club member.
“With a climate crisis and pesticide-ridden foods in our present day, it’s so important that children understand where their food comes from,” Howard says. “It’s important that we give them the tools to be involved in agriculture and community, to help them understand the impacts of climate change. The POP Club is a great outlet for children to get involved and to learn how to make changes on a local and worldwide level.”
To join, look for the green POP Club tent at the Wednesday market, across from the market information booth.