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Lots of fun and learning to be found at the brand new ‘Market Buds’ program

Activities to run the gamut from outdoor games, treasure hunts and storytelling to seed planting and interactive games

The Stettler District Ag Society has partnered with the Stettler Public Library and Stettler and Area Family Resource Network to offer kids ages six and up an hour of fun activities at the Stettler Farmers’ market every Tuesday afternoon.

Things kick off on June 29th.

“The Alberta Farmers Market Association started the Market Buds program,” said Marj Savage of the Ag Society, adding that a few added partnerships in the community were also key to making it happen. “Our Farmers Market is also a perfect venue to identify where food comes from as well.

“The Market Buds Program is just great – the kids come and they learn about food. The vendors that want to participate – we have signs for their tables identifying that they will be supporting the Market Buds program, too.

“The kids learn about about food, how it’s grown – we also have an activity handbook from the ministry but we aren’t limited to only what their suggestions are. They encourage us to find ways to promote agriculture and food in whatever way we feel is good. So that’s basically the program.

“We will also be offering outdoor games, treasure hunts, storytelling, interactive games and seed-planting,” she noted, adding there will also be some summer students onhand to help out with the various activities, too.

The kids will also be given tokens, and can then head to the participating vendors at the market to do a bit of ‘shopping’ as well, said Savage.

This will encourage chats with vendors about many aspects of hands-on food production, too.

“The children will be encouraged to consider what they are buying,” she said, adding that program is a tremendous mix of education and fun. “Also, most of our vendors, with the exception of just a few, are making their own products from woodworking to egg production to processing their own poultry. I think it’s great to encourage kids to really understand from an early age that there are people out there actually making it all happen.”

She added that it’s also such a terrific way for youngsters to learn more about the intricacies of the ag industry and how it all translates into what they eat on a daily basis.

“I think that as an agricultural community, we just automatically feel that for most people, they understand where the food comes from. But that isn’t always the case.

“I also hope that the youth understand, through the program, how much food is produced locally and how important it is to our economy, and also particularly to them,” she said, adding that again, it’s likely that lots of kids don’t know much about the growing process or where much of their food comes from beyond the grocery store.

“But I think in coming to a market – particularly a farmers market – it gives them an opportunity to understand it all better, and to talk to people who do grow food,” she said. “So I hope they will take away a better understanding of how important our local agricultural industry is, and also food production as a whole.”

Drop-off is available for kids ages six and up from 4 to 5 p.m. or from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Click on the link https://parklandab.wufoo.com/forms/register-for-market-buds/ to register.

Pre-registration can be done by phone – the Stettler Family Resource Centre can be reached at 403-740-2558 and the Stettler District Ag Society can be contacted at 403-742-6288. There is no charge to take part.