Healthy Fair school sites are chosen based on the percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced meals. A high percentage of students indicate a high level of poverty in the school community. The fairs are set up farmers’ market style (except that everything is free) with all the produce set out for the shoppers to pick and choose what they would like. The produce selections vary by season and availability, but usually we have anywhere from 5 to 9 different items at each market. When necessary we will purchase produce to ensure that we always offer at least 5 staple items. Since the project’s inception in October, 2009 we have averaged 4,000 Lb of produce for each event. With anywhere from 250 to 350 shoppers per market, each person is going home with 10 to 15 lbs of fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables every market.
The Healthy Fairs are also an opportunity to bring other collaborators and health information to these families. Health education assistants from Riverside County Health Agency have attended to offer nutritional information. We have also offered blood pressure checks as well as health and other public service information handouts. Hidden Harvest prints nutritional information and recipes for the specific items that we offer at each fair.