Smile Politely

Sprouts at the Market


The City of Urbana’s Market at the Square invites patrons and their kids to Sprouts at the Market on Saturday, May 4 from 9–11:30 a.m. Sprouts is the Market’s monthly nutrition, farm linkage, and mealtime habits programming geared toward children ages 3–8. May’s event, sponsored by The Family Resiliency Center, will feature a scavenger hunt-style workshop including a seed planting event, farmer meet and greet, and more. Small prizes will be offered to children finishing the workshop.

Sprouts at the Market is programming intended to educate young children — and their caregivers — about eating seasonally and healthfully in Illinois throughout the Market season. In addition to meeting local farmers and receiving nutrition information at these events, each child will have chance to sample some of the farm products available at the Market. Events in June, July, and August will focus on summer and fall produce, while September’s event will be held in partnership with the Great Pumpkin Patch of Arthur, IL. The October event will focus on composting for kids. All participants will receive a certificate of participation.

Jennifer Hewitt, a graduate of the Food Science and Human Nutrition program in the College of ACES at the University of Illinois, and a registered dietician, has coordinated the Sprouts project for Urbana’s Market at the Square since 2008. “Instilling healthy eating habits at an early age is really important,” Hewitt says. “Sprouts events at the Market are a really good resource for letting kids try new things and to get them excited about healthy eating.”

“This event is a great hit with kids and caregivers,” says Market Director Natalie Kenny Marquez. “The goal of the Sprouts program is to demonstrate to kids that fresh fruits, vegetables, and other farm produce are grown right here in Illinois, but we also want to send the message that these fresh fruits and vegetables are good for them. The basic idea is to get kids thinking more about their food and where it comes from, to discover that healthy tastes great, and to consider different mealtime habits as part of what eating is all about.”

The May 4 session runs from 9–11:30 a.m., and is free. If it’s raining at 8 a.m., the event will be canceled. The next Sprouts date is scheduled for June 1. All events are free.

The 2013 Sprouts schedule can be found at on our website. For more information, contact Natalie Kenny Marquez, Director of Urbana’s Market at the Square, at (217) 384-2319, or email.

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