West Ward Market Recap: July

Week 1: Veggie Scavenger Hunt

This week, we partnered with several produce and food vendors at the market to host an interactive Veggie Scavenger Hunt.

This scavenger hunt challenged folks to identify a variety of vegetables then explore the West Ward Market to find the vendor with that specific vegetable for a chance to win one of our *cool people prizes*. Although we planned the activity with kids’ education in mind, several adults joined in on the scavenger hunt fun. With such great involvement, our goal of increasing vegetable knowledge, community engagement, and interaction throughout the market was definitely achieved!

Week 2: Quick pickle kits

Our free quick pickle kits included pickling spices, an easy and versatile quick pickling recipe, as well as a highly-coveted mason jar. We distributed over 30 quick pickle kits and had lots of wonderful conversations with community members about favorite veggies to pickle, new recipes to try, and some fun facts about the health benefits of pickled and fermented foods.

Here’s the Quick Pickle Recipe as well as our info sheet on pickling and fermenting fun facts!

Week 3: Solar powered pizza ovens

During the third week of July, we were all caught in one of Easton’s unbearably hot and dry summer heatwaves – with no end in sight. This week, we thought it was fitting to teach lessons about climate change, heat-island effect, and sustainability as well as issues of heat safety and how all of this directly impacts agricultural workers. While this information tends to be heavy, we were able to start conversations and share lots of new information with kids and adults alike by harnessing heat energy from the sun to create solar-powered pizza ovens.

Using local ingredients, we captured solar heat energy from the sun’s rays to melt fresh Klein Farm’s cheese over some LaFarm tomato sauce spread on top of Made by Lino’s delicious breads to create super tasty, sustainable and hyper-local pizzas. YUM!

While the solar powered pizza ovens were a hit among the kiddos, we also had some very important conversations with folks about heat safety, heat illnesses, and heat island effect, as well as the risks faced by agricultural workers. Check out the resources below to learn more about these issues. Supplies needed for our ovens were pizza boxes, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, skewer, ruler & pencil, and black construction paper. Try it at home and point it towards the sun to maximize heat.

Heat illness, heat safety infographics: 

Heat Island Effect: Many urban areas like Easton and larger cities such as Philly are classified as heat islands. Heat islands are cities where temperatures are notably higher than in surrounding suburban and rural communities. This is the result of high concentrations of pavement (streets, rooftops, parking lots and other surfaces) and a lack of open spaces, trees, yards and other natural ground cover. Pavement absorbs more heat from the sun, thereby producing higher temperatures during the day. To make things worse, pavement also retains more heat, so in urban heat islands, the temperature does not cool off even after the sun goes down because the concrete, asphalt and other materials hold on to the sun’s heat longer than green spaces do. However, it is reassuring to know that green spaces (like community gardens!) are important and play a significant role in reducing heat island effect. Studies have even found that temperatures are 2-6 degrees cooler, on average, in grassy and tree-dense spaces compared to more paved areas.

Week 4: Flower crown & bouquet workshop

For July’s final West Ward Market activity, we put together a dreamy and beautiful flower crown and bouquet workshop using wildflowers harvested directly from our community gardens. With Zinnias, cosmos, craspedia, celosia, sunflowers and more, community members had a huge selection of locally-grown, pollinator-friendly flowers to choose from for their flower crowns. Wildflowers and “weeds” we gathered around the garden are often overlooked, but made great additions to the crowns. This activity was a hit with everyone, and we absolutely loved every moment. Not only did we get to share our favorite floral beauty, but we also had wonderful conversations about the important work of pollinators and enjoyed the opportunity to teach folks how to identify different wildflowers and other native flowering plants.