Children's Hospital and youth organizations across Nashville are teaming up to improve the health and wellness of local families through the "Veggie Project." The project hosts produce markets in communities without convenient access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Veggie Project aims to address issues of childhood obesity, family nutrition and food security issues in these underserved areas, also known as "food desert" neighborhoods. The markets are coordinated by Veggie Project staff and youth from community outreach programs.
Throughout the summer we bring the healthiest, freshest, local produce to our four communities each week. While the project works with local farmers to get the best products available, the children from our host sites are responsible for managing the markets. The children determine the volume of produce available at each market and set the prices for the fruits and vegetables. Another benefit of The Veggie Project is that all food that comes into the community through the project, stays in the community. Any leftover food from the Veggie Markets is donated to local organizations and agencies such as homeless shelters, drug rehab centers, and elderly homes.
2012 Veggie Market Host Sites
The Veggie Project has ended for the 2012 season. This year was a huge success with markets running at the Napier Community Center, Preston Taylor Minestries and the Blakemore Nazarene Church. Twenty-one markets took place over the three sites and nearly 2000 pounds of produce went back into the communities. All unsold food was donated to the Ronald McDonald House Charities in Nashville.
Youth Leader Board
Another popular and exciting program offered by the Veggie Project is the Youth Leader Board! The Youth Leader Board is an additional youth empowerment and community health initiative in which the youth (ages eight and up) may participate. As part of this board, the youth help manage all aspects of the Veggie Markets while learning about all aspects of the Food System through field trips and discussions regarding growing, harvesting, packaging, selling and consuming fresh produce. Youth Leader Board members are encouraged to share their thoughts and opinions on food access and community health through various outlets such as journals, photography, and video. These participants are also reimbursed through Veggie Bucks to the Veggie Markets.
Increasing awareness and educating communities on nutrition and health is one of the core components to The Veggie Project. During nutrition education, interactive classes strive to make health topics such as the food pyramid and proper serving sizes engaging for children. This is accomplished through the use of games, music, dance and crafts that are all related to nutritional health. In addition, fun and exciting field trips take Youth Leader Board members to where they never thought possible. Trips to the farm, cooking class demonstrations, and a trip to Second Harvest are just a few of the exciting ways Veggie Project integrates nutrition education into the Veggie Markets.
Health and Wellness Library
- Nutrition and Fitness for Parents
- Nutrition and Fitenss for Kids
- Food Guide Pyramid Becomes MyPlate
- Organic and Other Sustainable Foods
- 5 Ways to Maintain Your Weight!
© 2013 Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt