Test Power of Produce (POP) Club
The Power of Produce (POP) is a set of tools, guides and templates to help communities engage younger customers in the farmers market experience. Through a series of fun activities, kids learn about healthy eating while interacting with their local farmers. FMC member markets interested in running their own POP program have access to the following tools to help them run their program:
- POP Club Guidebook featuring activity guides and planning tools.
- $2 POP Buck Template. Markets can choose to use their existing tokens, or use FMC’s POP coupons for POP Club kids to use to shop at the market’s 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 Template. Each POP Club kid gets a POP Passport book to track lessons learned, and collect badges and stamps for new foods tasted and activities completed.
- Two-Bite Club Button Template. After each week’s activity, POP kids can try two bites of the ‘Vegetable of the Week’ to receive their Two-Bite Club badge, and at least $2 in POP Bucks to spend at the farmers market that day.
- 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 Sample Budget, to help markets to plan and customize their POP Club to suit their needs and capacity.
- A POPClub Facebook Group Connect with other POP Club organizers to discuss programming, and share ideas!
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.