Fresh Bucks Program Sponsored by PATH Foundation to Connect Fauquier and Rappahannock Students to Healthy Foods and Healthy Choices at the Warrenton Farmers Market.
As kids head off for summer vacation, Fauquier and Rappahannock County schools are sending students home with Fresh Bucks to use to shop for local foods all summer long. The free Fresh Bucks program is a community collaboration to inspire kids to eat healthy fresh foods, and encourage a connection to local farmers, growers and producers at the Warrenton Farmers Market.
The program was created by Generation Fresh Foundation, a local organization dedicated to connecting kids to fresh foods and food education, in collaboration with FRESH (Fauquier Reaches for Excellence in School Health) at Fauquier Schools, Commit to Be Fit at Rappahannock Schools, Warrenton Farmers Market, Fauquier Boys & Girls Club, Fauquier Community Childcare, FISH and PATH Foundation.
Students receive “Fresh Bucks” vouchers to spend at the market to encourage families to visit the Warrenton Farmers Market. Fresh Bucks allow kids to make their own shopping decisions at the market, and to learn about local foods by connecting with local farmers and producers. Through a PATH Foundation Make It Happen! grant, the program will reimburse participating market vendors for fresh, local foods purchased with Fresh Bucks.
Christy Connolly, president and CEO of the PATH Foundation, said the Fresh Bucks program is a great fit for their efforts to improve childhood wellness, “Getting kids excited to come out to the Warrenton Farmers Market with Fresh Bucks to make their own purchases is such a good idea. Educating children about the benefits of healthy eating is truly beneficial to them, no matter their grade level. And this program really embodies the principles of the Make it Happen! grant program by offering an innovative, new idea.”
FRESH (Fauquier Reaches for Excellence in School Health) Program Manager Jessica Lesefka added, “FRESH is excited about the roll out of the Fresh Bucks program and the impact it will have on reinforcing healthy eating for the families we serve. FRESH has been working within the Fauquier County Public School system to encourage healthy habits through classroom movement, healthy food, and after school activities. Naturally, we are thrilled to be able to reach beyond the school walls and establish roots within the community.”
Mandi Grove of the Rappahannock Schools’ Commit to Be Fit program agrees. “Commit to Be Fit is ecstatic for the opportunity to bring the Fresh Bucks program to Rappahannock County Public Schools. Improving access to fresh, local produce is an important step in creating a foundation of healthy eating in our students. We’re looking forward to our students and their families having an even greater appreciation for local farmers and further supporting our community,” she said.
Throughout the summer, Fresh Bucks will partner with additional organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club of Fauquier, Fauquier Community Child Care (FCCC) and Fauquier FISH, to reach children and youth. FCCC, and the Boys & Girls Club will organize weekly visits to the Wednesday Farmers Market’s new location at the WARF. The Fresh Bucks coalition is actively seeking other local organizations, businesses, and camps to distribute Fresh Bucks during the summer months.
The Fresh Bucks program’s mission is three-fold: (1) Empower children to make healthy food choices; (2) Strengthen and sustain healthy communities through supporting farmers and cultivating future farmers market supporters; and (3) Expand farmers markets into places where children can try new foods and learn about healthy eating.
In partnership with the Town of Warrenton, the Generation Fresh Foundation will host monthly events for kids and families at the Warrenton Farmers Market every first Saturday. The “Farm Fresh Festival Warrenton” events are fun ways for children to engage in the market, meet farmers, and learn about local, fresh foods through hands-on educational activities and demonstrations. The Town of Warrenton manages the weekly Farmers Markets in partnership with a coalition of market vendors.
“The Warrenton Farmers Market is a town treasure, and the Town of Warrenton is fully committed to helping grow its success. The Market is an example of the vibrant and vital agricultural community of our county,” says Brandie Schaeffer, Zoning Officer, Town of Warrenton. “We are proud to partner with the PATH Foundation, local schools, organizations and businesses, to connect families to the Market, and to drive economic activity for our market vendors.”
“The Fresh Bucks program reflects the spirit of our community — many people and organizations coming together to grow healthy, bright futures for children and families here locally,” shares Susanne Brose, Founder of Generation Fresh Foundation. “When we can reach children in a positive way, healthy change is possible. We love to watch children experience the connection and power of fresh foods – there is wonder and joy in the way they learn about healthy choices.”
The Warrenton Farmers Market runs monthly from May to October 2017. Fresh Bucks may be redeemed at every Saturday market during the farmer’s market season. For more information about the program and to get involved, please email Susanne Brose firstname.lastname@example.org
When parents should look for Fresh Bucks: Fresh Bucks will be distributed to students the final week of school. Look out for Fresh Bucks and an information flyer in student backpacks the week of May 21st.
When to shop with Fresh Bucks: Shop EVERY Saturday at the Warrenton Farmers Market! The Warrenton Farmers Market is open from 8am to 12Noon.
Where to shop with Fresh Bucks: Warrenton Farmers Market, located at 20 North 5th Street at the municipal parking lot at the corner of Lee Street and 5th Street in Old Town Warrenton.
More info and market event schedules: http://farmfreshfestival.org/warrrenton and https://www.facebook.com/officialwarrentonfarmersmarket
About Generation Fresh Foundation – The Generation Fresh Foundation is dedicated to helping all kids live healthy lives, by connecting them to fresh foods and food education. We believe every child should have access to fresh and healthy foods. We support and partner with programs, organizations, and leaders who connect kids to wholesome foods and help them grow up healthy and happy. The Generation Fresh Foundation creates educational programs and experiences relating to food and nutrition, health, farming, and gardening, for children and youth. For more information, visit www.generationfresh.org or www.farmfreshfestival/warrenton
About FRESH – Fauquier Reaches for Excellence in School Health (FRESH) is a county-wide program to support and enhance a supportive culture of health and wellness for students, staff and the community. The program is funded by a grant from the PATH Foundation. The FRESH program focuses on creating positive and healthy supports in our classrooms, cafeterias, after-school settings, and within the community – ultimately helping our students live healthier lifestyles.
About Commit to Be Fit – Commit to be Fit is a program through Rappahannock County Public Schools to improve the health and wellness of our community. It is funded by the PATH Foundation. This school-based health and wellness program focuses on school nutrition, classroom kinesthetic integration, and community wellness.
About PATH Foundation – The PATH Foundation is a charitable organization located in Warrenton, Virginia, making community investments through grants and programs. Formerly known as the Fauquier Health Foundation, the PATH Foundation supports overall community wellness in Fauquier, Rappahannock and northern Culpeper counties. Based on a community health needs assessment, the PATH Foundation has four areas of focus: access to care; childhood wellness; mental health; and, senior services. In 2017, the PATH Foundation is slated to invest over $4 million in grants, programs and resources for its service area. Visit them at pathforyou.org to learn more.
About Warrenton Farmers Market – The Warrenton Farmers Market was established by an act of the Warrenton Town Council in 1975 and continues to be a community icon. Composed of 25-30 independent members, the Farmer’s Market represents a consortium of small businesses consolidated as one Cooperative Economic Venture. The Warrenton Farmers Market is currently open during the growing season on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. The Saturday market is located in the Old Town Section of The Town of Warrenton and the Wednesday market is located outside the WARF. For more information and schedule: https://www.facebook.com/officialwarrentonfarmersmarket