Franklin Elementary Farmer's Market Aims to be Oasis in Food Desert

Feb 13, 2020

Containers filled with good-looking produce line the tables.
Credit Gracyn Doctor / WAER News

It might be the middle of winter, but did you know there’s a Farmer’s Market at Franklin Elementary School?

"What's your favorite part about the farmer's market?" our reporter asked.

"The apples," replied one student.

"The oranges and the pineapples," said another.

The Syracuse City School District has partnered with USDA to bring fresh food to elementary schools through the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. The idea is to provide the produce to communities with limited to no access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Director of Food and Nutrition Services with the district Rachel Murphy says the program exposes students to different foods in a nontraditional way.

"There are food deserts where grocery stores have gone extinct.  This is our way to say, listen, if you need to go food shopping, you can go to a farmer's market."

After making their selections, students are ready to take their bags home.
Credit Gracyn Doctor / WAER News

Franklin Elementary principal Kim Coyne says the program is a way to tackle food access while also promoting a healthy lifestyle at an early age.

"Without that nutrition...a healthy breakfast, a healthy lunch, a healthy dinner, and snack options..they can't be in school and function the way we need them to function.  We need them to learn, be alert, and be healthy so they can read, write, and do math."

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program is just one way Franklin Elementary is giving students access to healthy food. Throughout the week, kids also participate in a food tasting so they learn about more than just apples and oranges.