University of Kentucky

Poster Title

Title: Implementing and Evaluating a Farmer's Market Incentive and Nutrition Education Program for Families with Children

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Junior

Major

Dietetics

Institution

University of Kentucky

Department

Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition

Abstract

1 in 6 children face food insecurity and experience limited access to healthy foods in Kentucky. The Power of Produce (POP) Club is a farmer’s market incentive and nutrition education program for families with children aged between 3 and 14. This project is a 10-week pilot study in Lexington, Kentucky and it aims to improve fruit and vegetable consumption by engaging children in the local food system through educational activities, interactions with farmers, and exposure to new local fruits and vegetables through taste-testing. Every week, each child engaging in POP Club activities received a $2 farmer’s market voucher that can be spent on purchasing any produce from local farmers. Pre- and post-surveys were distributed to parents and/or guardian of children participating in the POP Club and an additional $2 voucher was provided upon each survey completion. During the 10 weeks of POP Club, 261 youths from 160 families participated in the weekly activities and families redeemed $1,055 worth of farmer’s market vouchers with 25 unique local farmers in Kentucky. Researchers have collected 166 pre-surveys and 13 post-surveys. Based on preliminary survey findings, 22% of children participating in the POP Club were people of color and 26% of survey respondents reported receiving a form of financial and/or food assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar to findings from other studies, families are not meeting the daily recommended intake of fruits and vegetables which can affect their nutritional status and health. This pilot project was able to successfully engage children in activities at the local farmer’s market despite the pandemic. Expansion and adoption of POP Club in other counties in Kentucky should be considered to increase reach and impact. However, more rigorous research and funding would be necessary to support such expansion of POP Club. Legislation to support such initiatives could be critical.

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Title: Implementing and Evaluating a Farmer's Market Incentive and Nutrition Education Program for Families with Children

1 in 6 children face food insecurity and experience limited access to healthy foods in Kentucky. The Power of Produce (POP) Club is a farmer’s market incentive and nutrition education program for families with children aged between 3 and 14. This project is a 10-week pilot study in Lexington, Kentucky and it aims to improve fruit and vegetable consumption by engaging children in the local food system through educational activities, interactions with farmers, and exposure to new local fruits and vegetables through taste-testing. Every week, each child engaging in POP Club activities received a $2 farmer’s market voucher that can be spent on purchasing any produce from local farmers. Pre- and post-surveys were distributed to parents and/or guardian of children participating in the POP Club and an additional $2 voucher was provided upon each survey completion. During the 10 weeks of POP Club, 261 youths from 160 families participated in the weekly activities and families redeemed $1,055 worth of farmer’s market vouchers with 25 unique local farmers in Kentucky. Researchers have collected 166 pre-surveys and 13 post-surveys. Based on preliminary survey findings, 22% of children participating in the POP Club were people of color and 26% of survey respondents reported receiving a form of financial and/or food assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar to findings from other studies, families are not meeting the daily recommended intake of fruits and vegetables which can affect their nutritional status and health. This pilot project was able to successfully engage children in activities at the local farmer’s market despite the pandemic. Expansion and adoption of POP Club in other counties in Kentucky should be considered to increase reach and impact. However, more rigorous research and funding would be necessary to support such expansion of POP Club. Legislation to support such initiatives could be critical.