The future of agriculture rests in the hands of our youth! That’s why it is crucial to ensure that they know the importance of the industry and its prosperity. Through our 4-H program at the University of Florida/IFAS Extension Brevard County office, we’ve created an innovative summer program that teaches kids where their food comes from and what is healthy to put into their bodies.
In our “Tiny Market” program, we visit Brevard After School summer camp sites throughout the summer and use hands-on activities to engage students in learning about agriculture and healthy living. These activities are facilitated in-part by teen volunteers, dubbed Teen Healthy Living Ambassadors, who are active in the Brevard County 4-H program. One of the activities has children create their own healthy snack with ingredients from almost every food group. This teaches youth the “MyPlate” principles while they make edible caterpillars out of various fruits, vegetables, and seeds. The second activity takes place outside at the ‘Tiny Market,’ a farmer’s market on wheels. Students begin by learning all about different fruits and vegetables and where they come from. They have a blast trying to identify bizarre-looking produce through a scavenger hunt, and then learn some fun facts about each one from the Teen Ambassadors. They also learn about farm animals such as chickens and honey bees, and the process of pollination and harvesting honey. Once they try some honey, the kids get to ‘shop’ at the Tiny Market and pick out their own piece of fresh produce to take home with them, along with a fun prize.
The Tiny Market initiative is one that is strengthening our youth’s knowledge of agriculture, while in turn ensuring the future of agriculture as a whole. Its goal is to teach young students about how their food is produced and to develop their potential for being smart with how they eat, while having fun at the same time!