One of the benefits of living downtown is the easy access to the Red Stick Farmers Market. It has become a weekly ritual to spend our Saturday morning shopping for fruits and veggies from Louisiana farmers. The selection has grown over the years and now you will find just about everything you need there, all locally grown and produced. In addition to all the delicious food, the market also offers a program for children to become engaged with the farmers and the products: Red Stick Sprouts. I anxiously awaited my son turning 2 just so he could participate!
Red Stick Sprouts is a year-round local food education and incentive program. “Children ages 2-12 learn where their food comes from through fun food-related activities at the Farmers Market that connects them to local farmers and agriculture” (Red Stick Farmers Market website). Once your child is signed up, have him or her stop by the Sprouts booth every week to check in. They will receive $2 in tokens to spend at any of the the Red Stick Farmers Market locations. They will also find weekly, seasonal recipes featuring ingredients available at the market, coloring sheets, and other monthly activities.
As soon as my son turned two we signed him up and he quickly became excited about his weekly ‘coins.’ The first few times we tried to spend the tokens he reluctantly handed them over for strawberries or chocolate milk, not quite understanding why he couldn’t keep them. He has since caught on to the exchange, and he’s excited to walk away with fresh food to munch on. The program provides an awesome, hands-on opportunity for him to learn lessons on buying and saving and about the seasonal items available. He gets to choose whatever he’d like to buy with his $2, which always seems to make him proud. And he often gets a quarter or two in change that he is saving up in a jar at home. He’s beginning to see how the change adds up, and I’m almost certain he’s saving it for a gallon of chocolate milk to enjoy all week. It is a great chance to reinforce his numbers and the concept of spending and saving in a real-life setting.
For more info on the farmers markets around Baton Rouge, seasonal locations and times visit the Red Stick Farmers Market website.