Here are the ingredients for a great success story: the Oregon City Farmers Market needed funds to continue the Power of Produce (POP) Club, so the Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District offered them a challenge grant that would match, dollar for dollar, up to $3,000 in contributions to the POP Club.
$6,000 for POP Club!
The result? An outpouring of donations from local businesses and private citizens giving the POP Club slightly more than the $3,000 they needed to meet the challenge! Those donations mean the total amount of support the POP Club will receive is more than $6,000.
Good through summer 2013
“This amount of money should carry us through to the end of summer 2013!” exclaims Jackie Hammond-Williams. “We are just so grateful for the contributions from the local community that allowed us to take advantage of the challenge grant offered by the Soil and Water Conservation District. They have been instrumental in supporting us in the fight against childhood obesity with our program of connecting kids with fresh local produce and creating healthy eating habits.”
POP Club in second year
Now in its second year, the POP Club introduces kids to the source of their food. Participating kids meet farmers personally, develop relationships with those who grow food, and many are inspired to plant their own food garden with seedlings bought with their POP Club tokens. Farmers benefit from the additional sales generated when kids develop a liking for vegetables or fruit, resulting in additional purchases by parents.
Since May 2011, approximately 2,650 local kids have registered and participated in the POP program. It takes a huge amount of money to keep this nationally recognized program afloat. Often in the height of summer, over $300 in two-dollar wooden tokens go to POP Club participants, empowering the children (ages 5-12) to shop for their own healthy foods and changing eating habits. The $6,000 infusion of funds to the program will generate thousands of kid shopping trips to the farmer’s booths.
Financial support creates more opportunities
Jeff Becker, President of the Oregon City Farmers Market, said, “The financial support from the community and the Conservation District provides a tremendous side benefit to the POP Club program. It allows us to plan for the future and opens the door to new sources of funding.”
In 2012, the Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District supported ten farmers markets in Clackamas County with support grants. To read more go to the District website http://conservationdistrict.org/2012/local-farmers-markets-receive-a-new-year-boost.html