Third graders are getting a special lesson in healthy eating and money management, thanks to some Tahlequah organizations that are bringing farmer markets to students.
About 500 Grand View school students will be able to check out the market-to-school farmers market. And, thanks to special grants, they'll be able to use veggie bucks to buy fresh produce from local farmers.
Cucumbers, squash, carrots and fresh fruits are giving the third-grade students a much-needed lesson.
"Not just healthy, but we are also teaching consumerism. It's interesting because some of them will shop together, some of them will give extra bucks to another person, just cute," said president of the Tahlequah farmers market, Marla Saeger.
Some students use their own cash, but third graders at Grand View School receive 12 specially printed veggie bucks. It's possible thanks to grants from the Cherokee Nation and Centers for Disease Control.
Saeger said, "It takes a village, and we're in the village right now, and it feels really good."
Tahlequah Best and the Tahlequah food markets ultimately put it all together.
"I am very excited. To me, we live in such a world where kids aren't eating fresh food and vegetables," said Grand View’s child nutrition director, Rashelle Vaughn.
She said many of the kids participating can't identify basic fresh fruits and vegetables.
"We live in a high poverty area, and, like I said, a lot of kids are used to McDonald’s or fast food, and if it doesn't come out of a box or a can they don't really know what it is,” Vaughn said.
The students are also learning about sharing and money management.
Saeger said "Adding, subtracting, ‘Well, the cucumbers cost $3, I have five,’ it just brings those things to life."
The market to school will visit about six school schools all together. In addition to that, the special veggie bucks will be available to certain WIC programs. You can find more information here.