Farmers Markets Go Digital: Find Healthy Food Near YOU!

Tonight Shaping Youth proudly hosts filmmaker Amy Kalafa of Two Angry Moms at Parents Place joining Farmers Market pals like Sarah Nelson of Fresh Approach who is stellar at getting the word out regionally to all the farmer’s market folks who in turn inform us “what’s in season” with handy charts like this one…

But we also wanted to provide a searchable database for our national readers, so here’s a fabulous resource from USDA on Farmers Markets to source state by state and also by area code and zero in on access to fresh, local produce and Farmer’s Markets in YOUR hometown. (global readers, please send your links for same and we’ll feature a compilation!)

With autumn here and pumpkins plopped on doorsteps throughout the nation, vegetables are top of mind for healthy living, fun activities, and warm, hearty meals in the making. It’s amazing to see how many farmers markets are brimming with education, recipes, samples and more accessible with a click.

USDA.gov Farmer’s Market (screenshot at left) shows you how to enter your specific data to pop up nearby access pronto, and even gives a VIRTUAL ‘CS-cost savings’ market online, along with where to find 100% Organic Produce official tees which growers (or shoppers!) will love via Café Press…(Fun teaser headline, ‘let ’em know what you’re made of!’)

Most of us here in Northern California rely on Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association’s PCFMA site to find markets by day, by county and search for activities galore, but here’s where to ALSO find farmers market national nutrition programs. Those of us heavily involved with the wellness community and childhood nutrition components of serving communities know that ACCESS is a huge issue, particularly in low income areas.

Cool databases like this only go so far if a.) you don’t have a computer and b.) you don’t have transportation to GET to the healthy food…But it’s a start! And with public access via libraries to begin to help narrow the digital divide, the information and free screenings and showings and samplings are a hit!

More and more we’re seeing innovative Farmer’s Market programs (like those at Fresh Approach!) that are literally bringing markets to the people in parking lots of schools, communities where access is limited and hosting tastings and sampling how-tos, education and field trips for kids to farms themselves…

Plus, farmers markets are teaming with sponsors and organic providers in stores to spread the word on how to make healthy living affordable!

Speaking of which, here are TWO healthy school grants up for grabs…both due in November 2008, so get on it, knowing the ‘Idea Hamster’ is here for ya and ‘ready to spin’ in order to help.

One is the Love Your Veggies program I wrote about already on Shaping Youth (sponsored by Hidden Valley Ranch) and the other is the CA. state PTA Healthy Lifestyle Grant (which most likely has a like-kind match nationwide, ask your PTA)

Now add a few grants you know of so readers across the nation can find fresh ways to integrate organics into little mouths that need them in fun, fresh ways!

Halloween party treats for example?

How about Edible Art where kids make veggie/fruit creations like Green Apple Witches with raisin eyes, or Orange Jack-o-Lanterns with faces ‘glued on via peanut butter’ and then gobble ’em up?

I’m sure organic gurus like The Green Zebra (local savings for sustainable living) can point us in the right direction for businesses that support healthy choices and help integrate farmers market ideas! And  media supporters like Bay Area Parent Magazine will spread the word when we find them…

Don’t forget, Shaping Youth is donating a free copy of the Green Zebra 2008 guide to green businesses tonight! ($25 value) at Parents Place! Meanwhile…I’ve gotta go pick up our special guest speaker, Amy Kalafa!

So think fresh. Think fun! And see you tonight!

RSVP HERE FOR TONIGHT! FREE!

A Few of Our Related Posts on Shaping Youth

Filmmakers Amy Jussel and Amy Kalafa Team Up Oct. 20th at Parents Place!

School Gardens Grow Healthier Kids: Seeding Green With Richard Louv!

P.A.C.K. Week: Pack Assorted Colors for Kids

A Fresh Approach to School Lunch Programs

Get Greens For Your School

HFCS Corn Wars: A Surprise That’s Far From Sweet

HFCS Ad Analysis: Media Literacy Mandatory, Dieticians Dissed

Screen a Movie Make A Difference

Show and Tell Tactics That Stick in Kids Brains

Using Marketing Methods to Sell Kids Healthier Foods

Using Shrek Against His Drek: Getting Kids to Eat Green!

Shaping Youth: Loads of Tips In Childhood Obesity Category

Crunch the Numbers: (Scholastic teachers program/eat healthy-learn math

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