Courtesy of AnnChris Warren
AnnChris Warren and kids from the Leadership Program at the Boys & Girls Club of Saugerties at the Saugerties Farmer's Market
Judith Spektor was in the audience when AnnChris Warren got up to speak at Diamond Mills during an annual auction and benefit dinner held last fall. She was one of the only speakers, but what she said was enough to move the board members of the Saugerties Farmer’s Market into action. Warren is the director of the Saugerties Boys & Girls Club, the beneficiary of the benefit, and sometimes she sees kids come to the Club with nothing to eat, or just a candy bar or a dollar to buy something. Even the kids who come with a sandwich and chips are still hungry at times given the long hours of fun and physical activity that they enjoy throughout their Club day. To help ensure that the Club kids are getting enough food and proper nutrition, Warren provides snacks and makes meals. So Spektor, a founding member of the Saugerties Farmer’s Market, offered to help.
Now every Saturday morning, Warren walks over to the Market with 4 or 5 of the Boys & Girls Club kids who have been showing good leadership skills during the week. They chat with the farmers, asking questions about the food and their growing practices, taste new fruits and vegetables, like purple beans, honey sticks, and goat cheese, and decide how to spend their $100 in complimentary Market bucks, a gift from Spektor and the Saugerties Farmer's Market. As fellow growers who help water and harvest the Boys & Girls Club garden, the kids at the Market can relate to the farmers. The food they choose to bring back to the Club provides some of what’s shared during Club programming the next week. “So far we have kept it simple,” Warren reports. “We made berry salad, baked chicken, cucumber salad, and have had lots of raw fruits and veggies as snacks.” It’s a special outing with a special permission slip, so it’s a big deal for the kids to be selected to go. And for a lot of the Club kids, it’s one of the few times they go to the Farmer’s Market. “If they weren’t going with us, they wouldn’t go,” Warren says. “It’s not something that their families do.” But Warren believes its effects will unfold over time. “This year, kids are talking more about their gardens at home. That wasn’t something I’d heard in past years. But we’ve been doing the garden now for 3-4 years. So the Market’s something that maybe next year, we’ll hear about it.”
“We all shape our food desires or food connections when we’re quite little,” Spektor muses. “So the more we’re exposed to and the more good food we’re getting when we’re young, the better it’ll be later in life as an adult. I see this is as very long-term education.” The Market committee who approved the partnership program hopes the kids will take some of these food memories home, and tell their parents about how much they like fresh fruits and vegetables, so that they’ll form a healthful taste to love, repeat, and share throughout their lives. “Really, it ties into everything,” Spektor says. “It ties into helping farmers make a living, keeping farmland in production instead of going to development, and creating a much better life for each of us, individually, and families at large.”
$100 in Market bucks each week throughout the Market season is quite a nice donation to make to the Club kids. The Saugerties Farmer’s Market builds that money during their main fundraiser, the Harvest Home Dinners, where volunteers open their homes and prepare a delicious home-cooked, community meal for 8-10 paying guests each September and October. Part of the purpose is to show off what fantastic meals can be made with Market-sourced, locally grown foods, and it supports the Market’s efforts to reach out to the community through events during the Market season and partnerships like the one with the Boys & Girls Club of Saugerties.
Don’t miss the Saugerties Farmer’s Market’s Summer Fun Day on Saturday, July 25th, from 10a-2p, at 115 Main Street in Saugerties.
Local teacher and Market committee member, Edith Bolt, has organized all kinds of kids activities to happen at the Market that day, including hula hooping, a puppet show with the Ivy Vine Players, and spray bottle play in the cow flop. And join them each week at the Market, where there’s always the Kids’ Art Corner, led by a local artist, live, local music, and visiting chef demos at the Farm to Table series. You may even see the Ravens, a singing group from the Boys & Girls Club of Saugerties, perform!
Stay tuned to the Saugerties Farmer’s Market’s Facebook page
for news and events about upcoming Harvest Home Dinners. And check out the Boys & Girls Club of Saugerties website
for more on their programs.