Receive $10 to spend at the market
By Ruthanne Johnson
MONTE VISTA— This Friday, Aug. 10, the San Luis Valley arm of the Cooking Matters program will host a tour of the Monte Vista Farmers Market. Tours are set for 10 and 11 a.m. Anyone who takes the tour will receive $10 from the Cooking Matters folks to spend at the farmers market.
Cooking Matters is part of the national No Kid Hungry campaign to end childhood hunger in the U.S. The free six-week program teaches participants how to shop smart, interpret nutritional information for healthier eating and cook delicious, healthy and affordable meals. Founded in 1993, the program and thousands of volunteer instructors have helped more than 265,000 families in communities across the country learn how to eat better and save money.
Cooking Matters courses are offered throughout the Valley in select locations. Though the program is geared toward helping low-income families, no one who wants to learn is turned away. Each course is taught by a volunteer chef and nutrition educator and covers meal preparation, grocery shopping, food budgeting and nutrition. Participants take home a bag of groceries at the end of each class.
“If the family makes it to at least four classes, adult participants get a chef knife and cutting board,” says program director Marlayna Martinez. “Kids get either measuring cups or spatulas, and we also have backpacks and kids’ cutting boards.”
The farmers market tour will include information on how to use SNAP benefits and free Double Up Food Bucks to purchase local produce, navigating the community’s farmers markets and strategies for saving money on food purchases. In addition to receiving $10 in farmers market bucks, participants will receive a recipe book and reusable grocery bag.
The Monte Vista Farmers Market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday through the second week in September at the corner of Jefferson St. and First Ave. Every week brings something different— from sugar-snap peas and Swiss Chard lettuce to Palisade peaches and plums, string beans, giant home-grown cucumbers and Valley-grown quinoa. The Monte Vista Community Garden typically has a booth set up with night-before harvested foods, as well as aloe vera and other seedlings.
For more information on Cooking Matters and to find course times and locations, visit cookingmatters.org/sf/calendar or call Martinez at 719-937-2319.