LaGRANGE, Ga. (WRBL) – District 4 Public Health held their annual Farmer’s Market in connection with the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program on Wednesday. The event was only open to federal WIC recipients and is held nationwide.
Freda Mitchem, the Nutrition Services Director for DPH, said families were provided with $30 of additional produce for the month. Each eligible family could receive up to five vouchers for extra produce based on the number of people in the household above six months of age.
“Nutrition is such a core component of wellness that it has been proven that fruits and vegetables offer so many vitamins and minerals and that contributes to a healthy diet,” said Mitchem.
In order to receive the extra allotment of produce, the families must participate in nutrition education programs like food benefit services.
The WIC Farmers Market is held by many of the districts across the state and all the produce given out is provided by Georgia farmers. The farm that serviced district 4’s market was Circle M. Farm from Molena, Ga. A representative from the farm confirmed with WRBL that they gave away nearly 8,000 pounds of produce.
Some of the items the families received included squash, sweet potatoes, corn and potatoes. The event was held for all Troup County WIC recipients and recipients in the surrounding areas.
Darlene Brown is District 4’s WIC Health Educator and she educates families on the importance of healthy foods with virtual cooking classes. She said the farmer’s market makes a big difference for families because she often hears how expensive produce can be and that limits how much each family can buy.
“My job is to educate them on how to store and prepare the fresh fruits and vegetables and we do it with our nutrition education material here at the farmer’s market. They actually have an opportunity to talk to a nutritionist about food storage and food preparation,” said Brown.
Brown offers the virtual cooking classes three times a week and offers several tips like blanching. Blanching is entering vegetables into boiling water for a short period of time and then putting it on ice to slow down its deterioration.