The Power of Produce (POP) Club provides a fun opportunity for children to engage in the local food system through conversations directly with farmers, educational games and demonstrations, and exposure to new fruits and vegetables. In addition to participating in educational activities, POP Club kids receive vouchers to spend at the market, allowing them to make their own shopping decisions at the market.
The Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) provides a set of tools, guides and templates to help communities engage younger customers in the farmers market experience through POP Club. FMC member markets interested in running their own POP Club program have access to the following tools:
- POP Club Guidebook featuring activity guides and planning tools.
- $2 POP Buck Template. Use their existing tokens, or print out FMC’s POP Bucks for kids use to shop at the market’s participating vendors. Markets are responsible for reimbursing participating vendors.
- Tools and templates for promoting POP Club, including social media graphics, fliers and signage. Markets can use the templates as is, or get creative and customize them with their own activities.
- POP Passport. Each POP Club kid gets a POP Passport book to track lessons learned, and document new foods tasted and activities completed.
- Prizes for kids participating in POP Club. Stickers, temporary tattoos, tote bags and other goodies will be available for purchase at FMC’s online store — opening soon!
- A POP Club Facebook Group Connect with other POP Club organizers to discuss programming, and share ideas!
Interested in starting a POP Club at your farmers market? Use FMC’s POP Club Guidebook and POP tools to help get you started. The templates, tools, and activity ideas are suggestions only — we encourage you to be creative and customize your POP Club to your own market. The only requirement of POP Club is to hand out at least $2 in market currency (POP Bucks) to children attending the farmers market. Downloadable POP Club resources are for FMC members only. If you have a member password, click here to see the POP Club resources. Not a member? Join today!
POP empowered children ages five through twelve to make healthy food choices by offering educational activities, cooking demonstrations, and food sampling, in addition to providing each child with at least two dollars in market currency to spend on fresh produce. This incentive provided an effective way for children to engage in the local food system through conversations with farmers, buying local, and understanding the importance of healthy food choices.
Through surveys and interviews, evaluations of Oregon City’s program found that 72% of POP participants had tried a new fruit or vegetable through the POP program. These newfound foods ranged from currants to gazpacho. Of participant parents, 70% reported that their child requests produce that he or she tried through the POP Club, confirming the influence of children on their parents’ purchasing choices. All of the vendors interviewed said that they had seen sales increase 35% due to the POP Club. The following year, a POP Club was piloted at the City Market in Charlottesville, Virginia, only two blocks from a large subsidized housing neighborhood. Even with new demographics, the program had similar positive effects on interest in healthy food among children and their parents. By experiencing healthy foods in different ways (eg. touching, tasting, observing their peers eating, and preparing the food themselves), 88% of the children responding to the survey in Charlottesville reported that they tried a new food and liked it.
Support from the Patricia Miller Memorial Fund has also helped to bring the POP Club to life. The fund was created in memory of FMC Program Advisor, Stacy Miller’s mother, who was a great supporter of FMC and often a cheerful presence during FMC meetings, caring for her grandson Fionn.
2016 POP Club Case Studies