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May 16, 2017

“Fresh Bucks” encourage kids to buy healthy food

File Photo/Lawrence Emerson
Fauquier students will get “Fresh Bucks” next week, when classes end for the summer.
When we can reach children in a positive way, healthy change is possible. We love to watch children experience the connection and power of fresh foods.
— Hume resident Susanne Brose, founder of Generation Fresh Foundation
As they head off for summer vacation, Fauquier and Rappahannock County public school students will receive “Fresh Bucks” to shop for local foods throughout the season.

A coalition of community organizations supports the Fresh Bucks program to inspire children to eat healthy fresh foods and to encourage connections with local growers and producers at the Warrenton Farmers Market.

The Generation Fresh Foundation, a local organization dedicated to connecting kids to fresh foods and food education, launched the effort. Collaborators include FRESH (Fauquier Reaches for Excellence in School Health), Commit to Be Fit at Rappahannock schools, the Warrenton Farmers Market, the Boys & Girls Club of Fauquier, Fauquier Community Childcare, FISH and the PATH Foundation.

Students will receive “Fresh Bucks” vouchers to encourage families to visit the Warrenton Farmers Market. The vouchers allow children to make their own shopping decisions at and to learn about local foods.

A PATH Foundation “Make It Happen!” grant will reimburse participating market vendors for fresh, local foods purchased with Fresh Bucks.

“Getting kids excited to come out to the Warrenton Farmers Market with Fresh Bucks to make their own purchases is such a good idea,” PATH Foundation President/CEO Christy Connolly said. “Educating children about the benefits of healthy eating is truly beneficial to them, no matter their grade level.

“And this program really embodies the principles of the Make it Happen! grant program by offering an innovative, new idea.”

Initially, each student will get $8 worth of Fresh Bucks, with more available during the summer. PATH so far has allocated $5,000 for the program. That amount could rise to as much as $25,000, depending on response.

FRESH Program Manager Jessica Lesefka cited “the impact it will have on reinforcing healthy eating for the families we serve. FRESH has been working within the Fauquier County public school system to encourage healthy habits through classroom movement, healthy food and after-school activities.

“Naturally, we are thrilled to be able to reach beyond the school walls and establish roots within the community.”

Throughout the summer, Fresh Bucks will partner with other groups, such as the Boys & Girls Club and Fauquier Community Child Care, to reach youngsters. Those organizations will conduct weekly visits to the Wednesday farmers market at the WARF.

The Fresh Bucks coalition also seeks other local organizations, businesses and camps to distribute vouchers this summer.

The program seeks to:

• Empower children to make healthy food choices.

• Strengthen and sustain healthy communities through supporting farmers and cultivating future farmers market supporters.

• Expand farmers markets into places where children can try new foods and learn about healthy eating.

In partnership with the Town of Warrenton, the Generation Fresh Foundation will host hands-on activities for children and families at the Warrenton Farmers Market the first Saturday each month.

“The Warrenton Farmers Market is a town treasure, and the Town of Warrenton is fully committed to helping grow its success,” said Brandie Schaeffer, the municipal planning director. “The market is an example of the vibrant and vital agricultural community of our county.

“We are proud to partner with the PATH Foundation, local schools, organizations and businesses, to connect families to the Market, and to drive economic activity for our market vendors.”

Schools will distribute Fresh Bucks to students next week, when classes end for the summer.

“The Fresh Bucks program reflects the spirit of our community — many people and organizations coming together to grow healthy, bright futures for children and families here locally,” said Hume resident Susanne Brose, founder of Generation Fresh Foundation. “When we can reach children in a positive way, healthy change is possible. We love to watch children experience the connection and power of fresh foods. There is wonder and joy in the way they learn about healthy choices.”

The Warrenton Farmers Market through October. Fresh Bucks may be redeemed at every Saturday market.

For more information about the program or to get involved, email Ms. Brose .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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