Fifth graders at Oliver and Avondale elementary schools spent the fall selling fresh, local produce to the community through their school famers markets. Oliver and Avondale elementary schools are both part of the Woodlawn Innovation Network (WIN). Providing collards, persimmons, lettuce, pears and apples became a lesson in business and nutrition.

The community farmers markets were on the fourth Wednesday of the month through November.  The farmers markets are a hands-on opportunity for students to experience running a small business, said Zoe Burgess of Jones Valley Farm. “We want them to have that real-world experience. The students handle the set-up, do basic accounting and even tell people how to prepare the produce they’re purchasing.”

During the first semester, the students also did research on how to best serve the customer.  They sell the produce to teachers, students, parents and the community.

The students learn about their product through science lessons in each school’s outdoor Farm Lab. The programs are implemented by staff members at Jones Valley Farm. All lessons at the Farm Lab end with taste test of trying fruits and vegetables. Putnam Middle School is also getting a Farm Lab, with plans to break ground on the outdoor lab in January.

The school farmers markets for these WIN schools will start back in early February.

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