Kitchener Farmers’ Market 4-H Club – A win-win for youth, the market and the community
The Kitchener Farmers’ Market wanted to have more family and youth friendly activities. Like most markets, the staff and vendors didn’t have the time to organize the events themselves, so they reached out to community groups. It wasn’t long until they heard from 4-H volunteer John Drummond. “We talked to the Market staff and decided to try running a 4-H club right in a stand at the Market…and the rest is history. Week one we had 9 kids and by week four, we had 16 kids – we knew we had a popular project.”
- 4-H Waterloo promotes the Market Club as part its overall program.
- Youth, usually between the ages of 9-14, join 4-H, pay the membership fee and join the Market Club.
- John Drummond and three other screened volunteers organize and deliver the 2-hour program for 6 weeks each fall and winter.
- The 4-H club format imparts team building, leadership and communication skills.
- The Market Club is focussed on food, much of it from the Market, with hands-on cooking.
- The 4-H youth give back to the Market and community by preparing and serving all of the food at the Market’s Breakfast with Santa and Mother’s Day Tea
Who makes it happen?
- The Kitchener Farmers’ Market provides the space for the Club to operate and supplies the ingredients for the special events.
- 4-H Waterloo screens volunteers, organizes and runs the Club.
- Youth join 4-H and participate and learn.
- Market vendors donate ingredients.
What are the results?
- Over 500 youth and their parents have experienced the Market for 6 weeks.
- The youth have gained valuable team building, leadership and communication skills while learning about nutrition, food safety and how to cook.
- The Market has engaged youth and demonstrated that the Market is youth friendly.
- The Market has a partner to deliver its Breakfast with Santa and Mother’s Day Tea
- Market shoppers of all ages engage with the youth – smiles all around!
“We talked to the Market staff and decided to try running a 4-H club right in a stand at the Market…and the rest is history. Week one we had 9 kids and by week 4 we had 16 kids – we knew we had a popular project.”
John Drummond, 4-H Volunteer
“We couldn’t do our Breakfast with Santa and Mother’s Day Tea events without the 4-H kids. They make and serve all the food but the most important thing they do is make our shoppers smile!”
Kim Feere, Manager Kitchener Farmers’ Market
With roots in rural Ontario, today 4-H Ontario is open to youth of all backgrounds from across the province. In 4-H, youth ages 6–21 come together with screened, engaged volunteer leaders to learn about selected topics through fun hands-on activities and mentorship.
The Kitchener Farmers’ Market was established in 1869. With its Saturday Farmers’ Market, Food Hall and event space it is a dynamic community gathering place.