Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey this week is encouraging Iowa students who are in kindergarten through eighth grade to take part in the “Farmers Market Scavenger Hunt” again this year. Students can take part at any of the 35 participating farmers markets across the state.
Students look for 37 fruits and vegetables and identify them
“We saw great participation and excitement around this initiative last year; both from the students and the farmers market vendors, and are excited to get it underway again this season. It is a great way for students to interact with and learn from the farmers and vendors at our markets across the state and maybe try a new fruit or vegetable as well,” says Northey.
To participate in the scavenger hunt students should look for the bright blue “Farmers Market Scavenger Hunt” banner at a participating market. As part of the hunt students will be asked to look for 37 fruits and vegetables and identify which ones are available at the market. Students completing the scavenger hunt form will receive a free piece of fruit or vegetable from the market and be in a drawing for books, cookbooks or cooking supplies.
Iowa has 35 farmers markets participating in the program
The farmers markets across Iowa that are participating in the program in 2016 are:
Ames Main Street, Atlantic, Bettendorf, Cedar Rapids Downtown, Clarke County, College Hill (Cedar Falls), Davenport, Dyersville Area, Eldora, Fairfield, Franklin County (Hampton), Freight House (Davenport), Friday Night Live (Marquette), Greene County (Jefferson), Guttenberg, Highway 34 (rural Glenwood), Iowa Falls, Lamoni, LSI Global Greens (Des Moines), Madison County (Winterset), Main Street (Council Bluffs), Maquoketa, Marion, Monticello, Muscatine, Pella, Pocahontas, Prairie City, Produce in the Park (Atlantic), Spencer Riverfront, Storm Lake, Tipton, Valley Junction, Welcome Center (Missouri Valley) and West Liberty.
Another new “Farm-to-School” program is coming this fall
In the fall, classroom teachers will be given the opportunity to participate in another great initiative called “Farm-to-School…to Market” where they will have the opportunity to receive funds to buy produce from the local farmers market and incorporate it into classroom lessons. Teachers will also receive classroom supplies (books or bulletin board tools).
This initiative will be open to all teachers and market sign up is not required. More information about the Iowa Farm-to-School program and other upcoming events can be found at iowaagriculture.gov/AgDiversification/farmToSchoolProgram.asp.
The Iowa Farm-to-School Program is part of the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship. Each year the Iowa Farm-to-School Program sponsors initiatives to help educate students about the benefits of developing healthy eating habits. This is done through opportunities such as "A is for Apple" and "A Garden is the Way to Grow." These opportunities give students the chance to learn about where their food comes from and to try fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables.