(Des Moines) -– Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today encouraged Iowa students who were in kindergarten through 8th grade this past school year to take part in a “Farmers Market Scavenger Hunt” at any of the 37 participating farmers markets across the state. The Iowa Farm to School program, which is part of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, is sponsoring the initiative.
“We are fortunate to have wonderful farmers markets all across the state and I hope students will take advantage of this opportunity to get out and learn more about all the fresh, delicious products that are available and support their local market,” Northey said.
To participate, students simply need to complete the “Farmers Market Scavenger Hunt” form. Forms may be picked up at any participating farmers market or can be printed from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at www.IowaAgriculture.gov under the “Hot Topics” section.
When they have completed the form, they can submit it to the market manager at the main market booth for the farmers market. Upon submitting the form, students will receive a free item from the market, such as a fruit, vegetable or honey, and will be entered into a drawing for additional prizes. In addition, the classroom with the most participation over the summer will receive a grow light that can be used to help them grow their own fruits and vegetables.
The farmers markets participating in the program are Beaverdale, Bettendorf, Bondurant, Boone Area, Cedar Valley at Kimball Ridge (Waterloo), Central City Main Street, Charles City Downtown, Clear Lake, College Hills (Cedar Falls), Clarke County (Osceola), Davenport, Davis County (Bloomfield), Eldora, Fairfield, Grinnell, Independence, Iowa City, Iowa Falls, Keosauqua, Knoxville, Lakes Area (Spirit Lake), Lamoni, LSI Global Greens (Des Moines), Maquoketa, Marion, Mt. Pleasant, Muscatine Area, Pocahontas, Riceville, Rock the Block (Cedar Rapids), Shelby County (Harlan), Sheldon, Sioux City, Uptown Ankeny, Valley Junction (West Des Moines), Wapello Co (Ottumwa), and Welcome Center (Missouri Valley).
Each year the Iowa Farm to School Program sponsors initiatives to help educate students about the benefits of developing healthy eating habits. This is done through opportunities such as "A is for Apple" and "A Garden is the Way to Grow." These opportunities give students the chance to learn about where their food comes from and to try fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables.
More information about the Iowa Farm to School program and other upcoming events can be found at: http://www.iowaagriculture.gov/AgDiversification/farmToSchoolProgram.asp.