Monongalia County Elementary Students Sell Locally-Grown Produce - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Monongalia County Elementary Students Sell Locally-Grown Produce at Farmers Market

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It may be winter, but the Morgantown Farmers Market is still in full swing, thanks, in part, to some of its youngest vendors to date.

Last fall, First Lady Michele Obama invited students from North Elementary to the White House, to show off the fruits of their labor.

"Someone from the White House called our principal, and she actually thought it was a prank call. They got to cook with the First Lady and with the Sesame Street Gang," said Mallory Carte, a fifth-grade teacher at North Elementary School.

That experience set the bar for other students to make their mark in the business of locally grown fresh produce. On Saturday, that business was booming as they set up shop at the Morgantown Farmers Market and sold out in 20 minutes.

"I cannot wait to tell my students. My class grew arugula, claytonia, and the spinach," said Carte.

Those involved with the "Farm to School" program were happy to plant the seed of healthy eating in students' brains.

"It's nice for me to be able to get into the classroom, the elementary classroom, because I teach at the university, and you get out of touch," said Jim Rye, a professor at West Virginia University.

"It's interesting learning all of the teachers' standards," said Vanessa Onkow, an AmeriCorps service member.

Lisa Lagana, the manager of the Morgantown Farmers Market, said programs like this help kids to learn to love fruits and vegetables at a very early age.

"I love to see little kids interact with their food. Not only because I know it's really fun to play in the dirt, but they also get to learn a little bit about the nutrition and why it's really really important for them to stay healthy," said Lagana.

For many of the students, getting to sell their products is just part of the fun.

"I like planting. I like, literally, digging up the soil, putting the seed in, letting it grow, and I like getting the food," said Kyle Hawkins, a fifth-grade student.

"And usually, after we grow it, we can try it," said Kate Hawkins, a third-grade student.

"A lot of the kids had never had arugula before, and that definitely has a bite to it. There were some mixed opinions about it, some of them said they needed some extra ranch on their arugula, but everything else they loved," said Carte.

North Elementary plans to make another appearance at the farmer's market next month.