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Student Farmers Market at Advantage Arts is a Huge Success!

On Thursday, May 11th, the 5th and 6th grade students of Advantage Arts Academy got to experience running their own produce market. In this guest post, Dave Hirst from LunchPro explains how they made it happen. Because it was so early in the season, the produce featured in this event didn't come from Utah farms-- and that's okay! This is a great example of working with what's available to make farm to fork happen.

 

I brought the crazy idea to an admin and said, "I am building a plane while flying- will you join me in a hands-on, arts, math, and community-building project?"

We talked twice about what we both envisioned for a farmers’ market. The admin decided she wanted 5th/6th grade to be the group to run the market. She talked to the teachers about the focus of education and arts. Groups of kids were assigned different produce items. They researched the produce, made signage, learned selling facts, and worked on sales pitches. During the day of the farmers market, the kids set up the tables, got the produce from the truck, set out the produce, put their signs up, kept the tables stocked, promoted their items. Throughout the day they asked customers questions and engaged them in sales. At the end, we offered the kids prizes for best posters, best sales pitch, teamwork and professionalism.




We had to accomplish some back-end tasks to make this happen-- largely organizing the details. We selected and ordered produce, set prices and set up a payment system. We created a receipt that would be used by guests (kids, staff, community members, parents, staff, others who came) to track their purchases so that all the money could be handled at one point with supervision. We also purchased tablecloths and baskets, planned music to play, determined the lay out of the market, set up taste testing, and invited partners (like USBE Child Nutrition Programs and Agriculture in the Classroom). Staff cut up fruit for taste testing along with taste testing of recipes. Finally, we found recipes for almost every item sold so kids had recipes to offer for the items they were selling.




It took some time to make this dream a reality-- but maybe less than you think. It took one full team meeting of the admin, two teachers and two support staff along with myself. It took several emails to set up USU and CNP to attend. It took two conversations for taste testing to be set up. Took about five emails for the produce list to be set up. The most work was the two days before when the students were taught a 45-minute food safety handling class, along with getting the scales and baskets to the school. Otherwise, overall work to set this up was maybe 12 hours. It was the time put into making sure things were done, touching base. Focusing on the fact it needed to be fun, students needed to see food that came from somewhere besides a store.


For us this was a huge success. The students loved that their families came out. All of the students from the school came out and walked through. We invited board members, community at large, it was put on the school and community social pages. Money-wise, we broke even, including buying baskets, scales, tablecloths, etc.


This school has asked to do this as the cap stone for their 6th grade students and wants to hold this again. This was an activity that I am so excited that we were able to do and I am looking forward to doing again. Watching the students learn something and hearing from them about what they thought of it was amazing. The bonus was they put this together while completing their rise testing and student time, they did everything in 10 days.



 

If you'd like help putting on your own farm to fork event, check out our special promotions like Squash Summer Hunger and Apple Crunch. Want to make up something completely unique but not sure where to start? Send us an email at contact@utfarmtofork.org.

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