Minden, Carson schools reap rewards at farmers market

Minden Elementary School students sold cookbooks, herbs and crafts during the Giant Student Farmers Market at Fuji Park.

Minden Elementary School students sold cookbooks, herbs and crafts during the Giant Student Farmers Market at Fuji Park.
Photo by Jessica Garcia.

Empire Elementary School’s “farmpreneurs” found candles were among the big-ticket items among eager shoppers.

Green Our Planet’s second annual Northern Nevada Giant Student Farmers Market on Wednesday at Fuji Park encouraged students to put their best foot forward as they demonstrated their school produce, hydroponics programs and various crafts.

Seven schools from Carson City, Douglas, Lyon and Washoe County returned to the market with support from several businesses and nonprofits.

Katie Zimmerman, education and engagement coach for Green Our Planet, said it was a pleasure to see community members browsing the students’ offerings of bracelets, wind chimes, plant starch and outdoor garden supplies.

“Some students are doing it on their own and some are being guided by their teachers, like counting money back to customers and cash handling,” she said. “It’s great to have this experience.”

Adrienne Wiggins, Empire Elementary’s K-5 computer teacher and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) coordinator, leads her students’ Green Biz Kids club, which meets Fridays at lunch to discuss ecofriendly practices. Ten of the club’s 30 students were chosen to attend Wednesday’s Farmers Market and sell items made by the school’s second and third graders. Wiggins said she shared with her second-grade teachers candles made by second graders sold “super fast” although soaps went a little slower.

“I think a part of it is they made the soap, they smell fabulous, but the students had put essential oils and herbs without marking them and said, ‘It’s a surprise!’ and ‘It’s a mystery!’, so that might have turned a couple of people off,” Wiggins said laughing. “But it’s all good. Our third-graders made magnets. They’re just beautiful. They did such a good job.”

Wiggins said Empire applied for a producer certificate through the Nevada Department of Agriculture, which allows it to hold its own farmers markets. Its goal is to have every grade level participate in the Giant Student Farmers Market and sell crafts next year. Funds will go back into its hydroponics program, she said.

Minden Elementary School students harvested fresh herbs Wednesday morning. Minden’s students Jamie Goering and Olivia Carney, 9, told the Appeal their cookbooks were the crowd-pleasers.

“Our principal just bought so, so much,” Goering said. “We’re selling hydroponics and crafts. … We tasted every recipe in (the cookbook). (The farmers market) is just like fun and wow!”

Minden Elementary Principal Crespin Esquivel said he was excited to see his students learn how to grow their own produce and about nutritious eating.

“At this age, it’s something they’re going to take with them for the rest of their lives,” he said. “We’ve been growing veggies for the last couple of months. … It’s very cool. This morning, when they were harvesting everything, the aroma and the smells in our school, that was amazing to see all the fresh herbs.”

Esquivel said he hopes to be able to bring a state-of-the-art STEM building to his campus that houses programs for agriculture, computer science and more.


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