Right before the 2013-14 school year ended, more than 200 elementary and middle school students were given $3 worth of Farm to school (F2S) farmer market fun money to spend at three Portage Farmers Markets this past May. Eleven vendors where sometimes overwhelmed with savvy buyers. Students purchased bedding plants, bison jerky, handmade wooden toys, Amish baked goods, and asparagus.
Columbia County F2S (CC F2S), received a two-year $160,000 TransformWI F2S grant, and has partnered with Portage Farmers' Market, Columbia County UW-Extension, Portage Library, St. Mary's School, St. John's School and Rusch Elementary School to sponsored the F2S Farmer Market Fun Day. Students were given tips on how:
· to navigate a farmers' market — checkout all vendors before buying anything so you have an idea of what is available;
· farmers' markets contribute to the local economy, build social networks and support healthy living; and
· local food develops healthy eating habits.
Students also received a F2S string backpack, information on where to buy local food in Columbia County and how CC F2S program has made an impact. CC F2S is looking for local food growers/producers who are interested in participating at other Columbia County-based farmers markets this summer and fall.