WORTHINGTON — A new activity is on the horizon for the Worthington Farmers Market, and it's meant to empower kids to make healthy dietary choices.

On July 9, organizers will kick off Power of Produce (PoP), a club that engages kids grades three through five in food-related activities and includes a small voucher to redeem at the market.

Community Wellness Partners Coordinator Cecilia Amadou said the program will allow youths to purchase fruits and vegetables independent of parent influence.

“It will teach them how to make their money go a long way,” Amadou said, adding that children can choose to spend their $2 token right away or may save them over the course of the season. “When kids have their own money and purchase something with it that’s their own, they’ll eat it."

Amadou said the program will also help boost the local agriculture economy, as growers will be reimbursed for the tokens.

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Depending on the number of participants, Amadou anticipates the program running from 3:30 to 5 or 5:30 p.m. on select Tuesday market days. PoP days will be advertised on the Community Wellness Partners and Worthington MN Farmers Market Facebook pages. Dates will also be advertised in the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce newsletter.

PoP is a partnership between several entities, including University of Minnesota Extension, Nobles County 4-H and Girl Scouts of Nobles County.

The July 9 activity will be led by a University of Minnesota Extension Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) educator Letty Rodriguez.

PoP launched in 2012 in Oregon. Amadou said the program is already operating at the Luverne, Pipestone and Marshall farmers markets, to name a few.

She said they piloted the program at the Worthington Farmers Market last year using another funding mechanism, which demonstrated that the program would be successful in the area. Amadou suspects 100 or more children will participate in the club this summer.

With a goal of hosting the program at least twice monthly through the duration of the farmers market season, more sponsorships are needed, Amadou said.

“We don’t want to turn any kid away from participating,” she said, adding that organizers hope to offer the PoP program during each market day next season.

Businesses or individuals interested in making a donation can drop off cash or checks at the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce office, 1121 Third Ave.

For more information, contact Amadou at 295-5389 or camadou@co.nobles.mn.us.