North Side farmers market visits: Connecting kids to community

Kids of Allegheny Traditional Academy eat apples at the North Side farmers market, Oct. 2017This past farmers market season, Just Harvest and the Allegheny Traditional Academy (ATA) Parent Teacher Organization partnered up to bring classroom learning outside to the North Side farmers market.

During the fall season, there were a total of 4 farmers market visits by classes and afterschool programs. This provided 120 students the opportunity to visit the North Side market, one of the oldest farmers markets in Pittsburgh.

Allegheny Traditional Academy girls investigate melon at the North Side farmers market, Oct. 2017

During their visits, the Allegheny Traditional Academy’s PTO gave each student $1 to spend on a fruit or vegetable, and I provided a scavenger hunt that engaged students to talk to the farmers and learn about seasonally produced fruits and vegetables.

While these bright minds are learning math, reading, and writing indoors, there is plenty to learn from going to the farmers market. Their trip to the North Side farmers market gave them the chance to

  • talk to farmers about how they grow produce,
  • learn about new fruits and vegetables,
  • learn about nutritional values and home cooking,
  • get early exposure to fresh, seasonal, and local foods,
  • engage with their community members, and
  • create relationships with their classmates outside of the classroom.

Allegheny Traditional Academy kids hold hands on the way to the North Side farmers market, Sep. 2017These market visits have been a highlight of the students’ school days and the farmers. The childrens’ active engagement made clear the market isn’t just a place where people can access fresh, delicious food – it’s an engine for community life.

Special thanks to Jeanne Emhoff, ATA’s PTO Vice President, for approaching Just Harvest which started these visits. Just Harvest and the Allegheny Traditional Academy teachers and PTO will continue this collective effort to give students this special opportunity to experience the importance of supporting local businesses, eating fresh produce, and engaging with their community.

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