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Farmers Market Celebration: Connecting Kids with Healthy Food

Three farmers markets in Baltimore have partnered with the Summer Food Service Program to dish up healthy food and nutrition education for children. Credit: Deborah C. Smith.
Three farmers markets in Baltimore have partnered with the Summer Food Service Program to dish up healthy food and nutrition education for children. Credit: Deborah C. Smith.
August 5, 2015

BALTIMORE - Fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs - and kids - are the stars of the party for National Farmers Market Week (Aug. 2-8) in Maryland. At an event today, at the Govanstowne Farmers Market, a new partnership is being celebrated where farmers markets are also Summer Food Service Program sites.

Amy Crone, executive director of the Maryland Farmers Market Association, describes it as a perfect fit because the goals of the programs match.

"Increase access to food and make sure that folks are getting nutritious, healthy options during the summertime, even when schools are not in session." She hopes to see more partnerships next year.

Summer meals are being offered at the Druid Hill and Pigtown markets this summer, as well. The Summer Feeding Program is designed to fill the gap for low-income students who normally eat free or reduced-price lunches when school is in session.

Maryland Hunger Solutions Executive Director Michael J. Wilson says with music and family activities offered at farmers markets, it's much more than a "meal" for kids.

"So, you have a place where we're feeding kids at a place where there's fresh, local food right there. So, there's some great opportunities to do education about food, to have farmers there, it's just a great opportunity to bring all of them together."

The Food Research and Action Center reports that only about 22-percent of low-income students who eat school lunch participate in the summer feeding program. Wilson says that demonstrates the need to make it easier for kids to receive the meals.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MD