Kansas Rural Center encourages partnerships with KSRE through the 2012 Savor the Season program
Kansas State Research and Extension FACS agents, Horticulture agents, Family Nutrition Program personnel, Master Food Volunteers and Master Gardeners looking to encourage more consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables this summer will have a new tool this year, thanks to the Kansas Rural Center's "Savor the Season" Program.
Savor The Season fits in well with KSRE’s commitment to promoting healthful lifestyles and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption through a variety of programs, as exemplified by Walk Kansas, the Family Nutrition Program and many others. Partnering among KRC, KSRE, farmers markets and other organizations mutually benefits all parties, and allows for cross-promotion of each other’s activities and programs.
Savor the Season provides a unified voice in the promotion of diversity and sales of local produce. The mission of the Savor the Season program is to improve the diversity of fruits and vegetables grown in Kansas, and to increase the sales of those crops.
For consumers - and of particular interest to KSRE FACS agents, FNP staff, and Master Food Volunteers - seasonal cards available at participating farmers markets will provide details on selection and storage of fresh produce along with preparation tips and recipes. The Savor the Season specialty crops for 2012 are: Spring: spinach, arugula, snow peas, rhubarb; Summer: basil, bell peppers, garlic; and Autumn: spaghetti squash, turnips, pumpkins.
Card content is currently being developed by KRC staff in partnership with KSRE food specialists and volunteers. Consumers, chefs, master food volunteers and others interested in the program are encouraged to submit favorite recipes using the 10 crops to twinrivers [dot] olf [at] gmail [dot] com by March 1, 2012. Examples of past years’ cards can be found at http://www.ksfarmersmarkets.org/blog/savor-the-season-program-a-retrospective. The new cards, along with reprints of the previous 16 crops, will be shipped to participating markets by April 18, 2012.
This year, for the first time, we are also offering other interested organizations the opportunity to purchase the crop cards at cost ($4/hundred). These cards can be used for outreach at garden fairs, food festivals and numerous other events. They’d be lovely prizes for Walk Kansas participants! An order form can be found below. Orders must be placed no later than March 15.
Through Savor the Season, farmers markets can receive funding and other assistance for promoting specialty crops (includes all fruits and vegetables, plus nuts and horticultural crops). Participating markets will receive an array of marketing and promotional materials, and have the opportunity to receive funding via either mini-grants up to $250 targeted at new or smaller markets interested in testing a special events program, or cost-shares that will match up to $400 for specialty crop promotions. Farmers market organizers can find all of the information needed to apply online at www.ksfarmersmarkets.org/extras/ . The application deadline is March 15, 2012.
The KRC strongly encourages partnerships among KSRE, farmers markets and other organizations committed to improving the health of their communities. Such collaborations contribute to very strong cost-share and mini-grant proposals, which can cover the expenses for special events such as food tastings and/or cooking demonstrations involving fruits and/or vegetables. Please contact your local farmers market to explore partnership possibilities.
To benefit producers of fruits and vegetables, Savor the Season is partnering with KSRE, the Kansas Vegetable Growers Association, and other local agencies to provide resources and specific guidance on production, post-harvest handling and marketing of five of this year’s chosen specialty crops.
A non-profit organization founded in 1979, the Kansas Rural Center works to strengthen rural communities and cultivate grass roots support for public policies that encourage family farming and stewardship of soil and water. Savor the Season is part of Our Local Food, a program of the Kansas Rural Center made possible by a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant from the Kansas Department of Agriculture. Our Local Food is a network of local farms, farmers markets, food businesses and consumers committed to helping Kansans eat better, and to re-building a sustainable local food economy.
For further information, visit:
Our Local Food website: www.ourlocalfoodks.org/
Kansas Rural Center: http://www.kansasruralcenter.org/index.html
Questions about the program can be addressed to twinrivers [dot] olf [at] gmail [dot] com (Tracey Graham).