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Farmers Market Field Trip Teaches Lessons About Healthy Eating

Laura E. Saponara serves as a Senior Communications Consultant for Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit.

A field trip to the local farmers market might be the perfect nexus for bringing together students, local produce vendors and health care advocates to teach important lessons about our food.

Panorama City physician Carlos Mendez, MD, recently led a walking field trip with third grade children, parents and staff from Ranchito Elementary to the Kaiser Permanente Panorama City Farmers Market. Along the way, Dr. Mendez talked to the kids about the fruits and vegetables on display – how different types of vegetables grow differently and the nutrients found in each. After being greeted by Miss Broccoli, the group got a kid-centric lesson in Total Health: why fresh food is vital for your body, brain and heart and how physical activity helps all three to make the most of those nutrients.

Ranchito Elementary
Carlos Mendez, MD, of Kaiser Permanente is surrounded by third-grade children from nearby Ranchito Elementary School.

As Dr. Mendez says, “We can help empower children with fun and creative outlets to promote wellness.”

Of course, a field trip to a farmers market also offers a chance to talk about locally-grown foods, introduce the concept of sustainable food production and help kids to understand the difference between fresh food and highly processed food. You can visit this resource to track down a farmers market in your community. Or check out the listings of Kaiser Permanente-sponsored markets. For more ideas, see this list of six important ideas that are easy to impart when surrounded by fresh produce.

If you don’t have a farmers market in your neighborhood, you can use a field trip to the grocery store in much the same way, and plan to spend most of the time in the produce section.  Support materials for educators, including a lesson plan for your grocery store field trip, are available from PBS Kids.

 This story was originally shared on the KPShare website

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