We get $10 worth of FREE FOOD every week from our local community market! If you have kids and you haven’t heard of the Power of Produce (POP) Club, you’re missing out on something truly amazing. It is our absolute favorite summertime activity.
It’s unbelievably easy… and fun…. and so worth it!
Every Tuesday afternoon, we load up the car and travel to our local community market. We make a beeline for the kid’s activity booth, where the kids participate in fun and educational activities sponsored by local providers. Last year, they learned how to plant seeds, properly care for veggies, make bird feeders and more!
When they’ve completed the activity, we visit the main Farmer’s Market booth and pick up their FREE tokens. Each child receives $2 in tokes that can be redeemed for fruits or vegetables! Our farmers market even lets the kids purchase fresh-cut flowers with their tokens, which my daughter LOVES.
The POP Kids club is a feature of the National Farmers Market Coalition (FMC). The goal is to introduce kids to new fruits and vegetables, teach them with educational games and demonstrations and encourage children to engage in the local food system through direct contact with farmers.
In addition to $2 in FREE food every week, POP Kids participants can also receive prizes throughout the season. Last year, our kids picked up stickers, temporary tattoos, tote bags, frisbees, other small toys and even a strainer!
Of course, their favorite part is perusing the market with their tokens. Last year was a bit hectic since the program was new. The vendors are a lot more prepared this year. Instead of weighing everything out to reach the magical $2 price, they have bags of cherries, flats of strawberries and bundles of veggies already ready to go. It makes the process much faster – although we still have to wait for everyone to decide what they’re going to buy.
I have five children so that’s $10 in free food every week! I have one wise older child who is saving his tokens until later in the season so he can buy an entire flat of his favorite fruit. His younger siblings don’t have that kind of patience, so they redeem their tokens each week and trade among themselves until everyone has what they want.
Not every market hosts a POP Kids Club… but they are becoming more common! The farmers market near me does not offer this program so we skip to the next town over. It’s totally worth it!
Got WIC or EBT? Are you a senior?
If so, you can get even MORE free food from your community market!
Got WIC? The WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program can provide you with an additional $10 or more in free food vouchers per year. These vouchers can be used at community markets, farmer’s markets, roadside stands or directly from farms themselves. The amount you receive depends up on the state where you reside. Federal grants cover $10-$30 per year but states may choose to award more. Last year, one of my best friends saved her kids’ weekly tokens until she received her WIC vouchers. She bought a bunch of fruit and made jam!
Got EBT? Not only do most farmer’s markets accept EBT nowadays, many will even give you free food when you shop with EBT benefits! Many states participate in a Double Up Food Bucks program that essentially gives you twice as much food as you pay for (up to $20). Discover the other amazing things your EBT card can do by clicking here!
Are you a senior? The Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program provides low-income seniors with vouchers that can be used to purchase edible foods from farmer’s markets, community markets, roadside stands and community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs.
Looking for a “Farmers Market Near Me?”
Simply Google “Farmers Market” and Google will help you find one! Be sure to visit their website and look for awesome programs like POP Kids Club! 🙂