It’s not your average taste-testing table.
Not only does the Crim Fitness Foundation’s Harvest of the Month program offer samples to shoppers at Flint Farmers’ Market Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., it offers information families can use in their kitchens at home.
“The intended outcome of that intervention is to increase fruit and vegetable consumption,” says Mackenzie Thrower, who oversees the program for Crim. “So we want to get them the tools they need to make the right nutrition choices.”
By discussing the benefits of food items, how the items can be introduced into meals, and other related topics, Harvest of the Month engages thousands throughout the year, Thrower adds.
“We give them recipes, we give them tip sheets and all sorts of things,” says Thrower.
But the key isn’t lecturing or bombarding shoppers with factoids, particularly when there are unknowns that might be sensitive topics,” he adds. Fad diets and other issues that influence health conditions, and success or disappointment in fitness goals can impact communication, says Thrower: “If there’s one thing you don’t want to push it’s food choices.”
“I always say food and our diets are more based on relationships than logic,” he adds.
The Harvest of the Month program stresses making connections with visitors to the market.
“They’re much more receptive to the relationships,” says Thrower. “We see them come back to the market and say, ‘Hey I had my kids try this. They liked this one, but they didn’t like that one.’ Over a year’s time, they become your friends.”
“Ultimately,” says Thrower, “our goal is to help.”