The Power Of Produce (POP) Club is a nationally recognized children’s program started at the Oregon City Farmers Market in May 2011, to empower children to make healthy food choices, get them involved in their local farmers markets, and introduce them to where their food comes from. This program is now being implemented in many farmers markets across the U.S. and in Canada.
This program was brought to West Virginia to enhance economic growth by encouraging more families to attend farmers markets often. Our goal is to encourage healthy eating and attendance at farmers markets in West Virginia. We hope that this toolkit helps create an outline for farmers markets to create their own Power Of Produce (POP) Club.
POP empowers children ages 5-12 to make healthy food choices by providing each child with market currency to spend on fresh produce each visit. POP provides a fun way for children to engage in local food through conversations with farmers, buying local produce, trying new foods, and understanding the importance of healthy food choices. In addition to providing market currency each week, POP clubs give kids a chance to “play with their food” through activities like blending smoothies with a bike blender, making real Potato Heads, and guessing vegetables based on textures and shapes. Besides being fun, these activities introduce children to new foods in a variety of ways.
How does it work?
Before the POP Club opens you will need to make sure that you’ve prepared a budget, obtained sponsorships, manage funding, staff (POP Club Coordinator and volunteers/interns), promotional and marketing materials, and any equipment or supplies you might need.
On the days that POP Club is set to operate, have a designated booth at the farmers market. This booth should have appropriate POP Club branding and other signage that indicates to parents and children where to start. Make sure signage includes days and times to participate so communities and customers know when your market’s POP Club is active.
Each child starts out with a passport and two tokens valuing $1 each. They can then sample food, engage in the daily activity that reflects agriculture, and shop at the market with their tokens. Planned activities should be age appropriate to include younger and older children. Finally, children shop at the market using tokens they receive at daily check in. Participating children should be limited to fruits and vegetables from authorized vendors. No pre-cooked, value added, or non-produce item should be allowed to be purchased with tokens.
Farmers Markets Can Help Foster Adventurous Eating
University of Minnesota reported that through the implementation of 14 POP clubs at farmers markets in the summer of 2017, family attendance and spending increased overall with nearly $10,000 being reimbursed to vendors. Through web-based surveys of 357 parents of POP Club-participating children, 67% of respondents say their children are eating, or at least trying, more fruits and vegetables. They reported POP Clubs may have positive implications on the eating behaviors of children and the shopping behaviors of families.
Additional POP Materials
The Power of Produce Club program and the Farmers Market Coalition have agreed to collaborate in order to provide resources and support to the growing national “POP movement.” By becoming a formalized program under FMC, POP materials are available to FMC members. Members have access to logo’s, signs, evaluation tools, and resources on lessons learned to provide markets with a starter kit to create a POP Club at your farmers market.
The Farmers Market Coalition provides the following materials:
- POP Club Guidebook featuring activity guides and planning tools.
- POP Club Activity Guide with over 50 children’s activities to do at the market.
- $2 POP Buck Template. Use 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. Members get 20% off.
- A POP Club Facebook Group Connect with other POP Club organizers to discuss programming, and share ideas.
Support POP Clubs
You can make a deductible donation to the POP Club at the Market with our online donation form.