Cherokee Nation
Ty Purcell and his mother Megan Purcell are seen here working the yellow squash produce stand at the Learn to Grow children’s farmers market in Vinita, Oklahoma.

Cherokee Nation’s Learn to Grow Program Holds Children’s Farmers Market


The Cherokee Nation’s Learn to Grow Program, which teaches children to garden and grow vegetables, yielded enough produce to hold a farmers market.

More than 115 children from the program ran their own produce stands at the market, selling corn, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, and bell peppers for “veggie bucks.”

“This is a great experience for the kids who have participated because they planted, grew, harvested and finally distributed these fresh fruits and vegetables. Feeling that ownership of the food source will resonate with them and so will the larger message of healthy consumption,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said in a press release. “One critical point that we are trying to impart to our youth through the community garden program is the importance of eating nutritious foods, especially those that are culturally significant to the Cherokee people.”

The market was held at the Vinita Health Center, and included other healthy activities like making bike smoothies, where children pedaled a stationary bicycle to power a blender.

“To watch the children run their own children’s farmers market, see the families interacting at the booths, and going home with free vegetables and recipes was very rewarding,” Learn to Grow Project Coordinator Lisa Evans said in the release. “It was a day where the families could enjoy spending time together while learning about healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle for all.”

Holly Rowe, who has an adopted son and five foster children, used the tomatoes she got at the market to make homemade spaghetti sauce. “The children’s farmers market was great, and the kids loved it. I hope they continue to do it every year. I had people posting and messaging me on Facebook asking if there would be another one next year,” Rowe said.

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