Did you miss your Saturday and Sunday local markets this weekend? Bummed that you are going to have to schlep to a grocery to buy produce from who-knows-where instead of enjoying your Colorado grown veggies fresh from the many nearby farms & gardens? Lucky for you, Denver has Youth Farmers' Markets featuring local produce during the weekdays! And chances are, there is one at a school near you.
Youth Farmers' Markets were born of a partnership between Denver Urban Gardens & Slow Food Denver. These non-profits combined foodie forces to create a program that brings healthy food into high need neighborhoods throughout the Denver metro area while educating and empowering our kids, giving them important life skills and an appreciation for what it means to live and grow in community. All of the markets are produce-based (many stocked with produce the youth grew themselves in their school-based community garden mere feet from the farm stand), and your money goes directly toward supporting youth education. How cool is that?
Really, though, Denver Urban Gardens sums up the possibilities of the YFMs best:
Through the youth farmers' market program, youth have the potential to learn how to grow their own food, increase their intake of fresh healthy produce, and germinate an interest in sharing what they are learning with the broader community through the venue of a small farmers’ market. A youth farmers' market focuses on promoting healthy eating habits, reinforcing traditional academics, such as math and science, and building life skills such as customer service, conflict resolution and entrepreneurship. Additionally, they serve as mini–communities, modeling inclusive ways to teach the strength of diversity.
Another special thing about YFMs are that there is just one booth with several students there selling. It's the youth of that specific school. They are in their neighborhood, selling to their neighbors, and since it's just the one booth instead of an entire market of booth to choose from, it becomes a more meaningful, intimate, person-to-person relationship. Go ahead and ask the students their favorite ways to prepare the veggies, and feel free to suggest some of your own!
If you want to support youth education while getting good produce at an affordable price this season, you have three more chances to do so--this Thursday, Friday, and next Thursday close out the YFM season. Be sure to check back on the Denver Urban Gardens website next season, though, because at the peak of the season the YFM's have upwards of 15 markets a week happening at schools all over Denver.
In the meantime, brush up on your simple math skills. I always try to beat the kids to figuring out how much change they owe me. (I lose every time).