Grow Ohio Valley Mobile Market Gives Students Tools for Healthy Living

Photo by Drew Parker Washington Lands Elementary School student Caysen Morris picks produce from a Grow Ohio Valley pop-up market in Glen Dale.

Grow Ohio Valley is working to instill healthy values in the minds of area children.

The Wheeling organization hosted a “pop-up” farmer’s market recently at Glen Dale United Methodist Church Child Development Center.

Hosted by Grow Ohio Valley and the Marshall County West Virginia University Extension Service, the market provided vouchers for local children to buy their chosen fruit and vegetables at the site, with the help of funding from the Eye Foundation of America.

Molly Poffenbarger, nutrition outreach and health educator for WVU Extension, said she hopes the market will encourage healthy decisions in area households.

“It’s important for kids to pick out their own fruits and vegetables … ,” Poffenbarger said. “They’re more likely to try it if they have a choice of what they get. Hopefully it will increase consumption of fruits and vegetables.”

Justine Yglesias, AmeriCorps education coordinator, said it’s important to get children making smart decisions about food early in life.

“With their own vouchers kids are purchasing things that they want to eat and making healthy choices,” Yglesias said. “They’re having a lot of fun and it’s cool to talk to them about how they will use the food at home.”

Seth Schmiedeknecht, farmer for the 18th Street Grow Ohio Valley farm in Wheeling, said he enjoyed seeing children buy and experience his produce.

“It’s cool for me to see food that was grown close to them go to them and hopefully their families,” Schmiedeknecht said. “It was good to hear them talk about what they’re going to do with the food. They had plans for the food and I could tell they’ve been in an environment where they know about food and where it comes from.”

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