OSWEGO – In an effort to empower children to make healthy food choices and introduce them to the local food system, The Children’s Museum of Oswego (CMOO) is presenting the Power of Produce (POP) program.
CMOO’s Power of Produce program began in June and runs through October at the Oswego Farmers’ Market every other Thursday 4:30 – 8 p.m., on West First Street.
CMOO hopes to excite youth about local, fresh food and healthy eating.
The program will encourage healthier eating habits, open up a dialogue about nutrition, teach children about different types of produce, and ultimately pique their curiosity about where their food comes from.
On enrollment by parents, children will fill out a “Passport to Health” which tracks attendance and participation.
Since the launch of the program, more than 130 children have signed up to participate.
Each time the program is presented, children are invited to explore a new hands-on activity that gives them a chance to “play with their food” through activities like blending smoothies with a bike blender, making real Mr. Potato Heads, exploring worm composting, and creating their own produce powered superheroes.
Besides being fun, these activities introduce children to new foods in a variety of ways.
In addition to participating in hands-on activities, children ages 3-10 earn wooden POP tokens to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables with participating farm vendors at the Oswego Farmers’ Market.
To date, eight local farms have signed on to the program and will display their participation with a “POP Tokens Accepted Here” sign at the front of their stands.
“We want children to feel empowered to take an active role in their nutrition choices,” said CMOO’s executive director Jillian Shaver. “The goal is to make healthy, fresh produce available to our community’s youth. Providing opportunities to explore nutrition topics in creative ways means children are more likely to try new foods and develop positive attitudes towards healthy eating.”
The POP program contributes to the family-friendly atmosphere of the farmers’ market.
Market coordinator Nate Emmons said, “We are very excited to have The Children’s Museum of Oswego at the farmers’ market. Their “Power of Produce” program is a great way of helping children learn about the market, learn about healthy choices and having fun all at the same time!”
The Power of Produce Program has been awarded mini grants from the Oswego County Youth Bureau and the United Way of Greater Oswego County.
Additional support has been received from Compass Federal Credit Union.
The Children’s Museum of Oswego is seeking additional sponsors of the program to ensure that it has the potential to benefit all children and families throughout the length of the farmers’ market season.
Volunteers are also needed and can contact Shaver at (315)-326-1110.
More information on the POP program and CMOO can be found at www.cmoo.org or by joining Children’s Museum of Oswego’s Facebook page.