Sunday, June 20, 2021

PoP (Power of Produce) Club Is back

| June 10, 2021 1:00 AM

HAYDEN — After taking a “pandemic pause” last year, the PoP Club is back for part of the summer, thanks to the financial support of the Kootenai County Farmers’ Market. The program teaches children about produce, local food systems, and healthy food choices.

The PoP Club is free to kids ages 5 to 12. Each Saturday, youngsters are invited to sign in and take part in a hands-on activity. Upon completion, each will receive a token worth $2 to spend on a fresh fruit, vegetable or food plant at a participating PoP Club vendor.

“We are fortunate to have a Pop Club in our area. I’m grateful for all the work prior coordinators, volunteers and the market has done to keep this successful and growing program going since 2017,” said Savina Darzes, coordinator.

The original PoP Club was started in May 2011 by the Oregon City Farmers’ Market. Teri McKenzie, founder of the Inland Northwest Food Network, heard about its success, and brought the concept to Kootenai County in 2017.

"The Inland Northwest Food Network, unfortunately, disbanded in early 2020," a press release said. "As a result, the future of the Pop Club was up in the air, and then to make matters worse, the pandemic hit. Luckily for all of us, the Inland Northwest Food Network donated all of its PoP Club equipment and supplies to the Kootenai County Farmers’ Market, which has always enthusiastically hosted and endorsed the program."

The PoP Club is funded to be held weekly on eight Saturdays from June 12 to July 31. Additional donations are needed to ensure that the program can continue.