“The purpose of the farmers’ market is to increase the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables to our participants,” said Cicely Thomas, nutrition service director for Northwest Georgia Public Health District, which covers 10 counties, including Bartow. “WIC is a nutrition education program.
“Many people think that it’s just a voucher program or a food supplement program but the program itself is a nutrition education program that offers supplementary food. So the overall take home for the participants, of course, is nutrition education [and] just to gain the knowledge needed to make healthier choices for the family and, of course, how the fruits and vegetables benefit them overall.”
According to a news release from the Bartow County Health Department, the WIC program supplies free supplemental food, nutrition education and health care referrals to qualified Georgia families, including low-income breastfeeding, nonbreastfeeding postpartum and pregnant women, and youth up to age 5, who are determined to be at risk nutritionally.
Following a 15- to 30-minute nutrition class, WIC participants will receive an additional voucher, enabling them to purchase $30 worth of produce from on-site vendors.
“We actually take the fruits and vegetables that are there and we teach them about some of the nutrients that are in them,” said Brittany Klein, nutrition program manager for Bartow County Health Department. “So we go over primarily fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins, folic acid and the importance of them and what foods you can find them in. So that way, they know exactly what to get and what these vitamins do for them and for their children and why they’re so important.
“... I want them to leave thinking that at least they need to have one or two fruits or vegetables every day. That’s my main goal.”
For more information about the upcoming WIC farmers’ markets in Bartow, call the Bartow County Health Department at 770-382-1920.