It was a bright sunny day on April 21st in Downtown Summerlin, perfect weather for a student farmers market. Smiling kids and teachers arrived, lugging large containers filled with fresh produce and handmade crafts off their buses and making their way to their business tables. A crowd of volunteers, sponsors and Green Our Planet staff cheered as close to 600 students poured off the buses and made their way down the rows of tables, amplifying the energy around what has become the largest student-run farmers market in the United States, right here in the middle of the Mojave Desert! Tables were set, kids were ready to sell their goods and customers began rolling in. By 10am another Green Our Planet Farmers Market was officially underway.
A Day of Joy for the Community
When walking aro
und the student farmers market, one couldn’t help but feel the joy and love reverberating through the air. Gail, a Green Our Planet supporter, wrote that the atmosphere, “totally transformed by 11 AM today! The enthusiasm of the children echoed throughout the entire space in a celebration of our Earth.” As more people rolled in, laughter and hugs occupied every corner of Downtown Summerlin. The market has become a beloved tradition where the community loyally comes out to support student Farmpreneurs twice a year. While people shopped they also were able to enjoy creative outfits students made to show team spirit, mascots dancing around, such as the giant spork everyone stopped to take pictures with, and the award winning Knudson Middle School mariachi band that played live music, which added to the festive occasion. The Green Our Planet Giant Student Farmers Market felt like a celebration of the earth and the vibrant community it is held in, all at once.
Student Farmers Market: Empowering the Students
Like every farmers market, student Farmpreneurs felt empowered as they showed off their business skills to the Las Vegas community. They worked hard all year, learning to grow and harvest their produce through Green Our Planet’s outdoor garden and hydroponics programs. Students learned how to write a business plan for their garden and/or hydroponics laboratories, how to create profit and loss sheets, how to price their vegetables and so much more. They planned, marketed and sold the produce along with extra handmade items they strategically produced to add to their products list. Students ran their businesses seriously, shown by the way they advertised their produce loudly, displayed their crafts proudly and stated their prices firmly as buyers inquired at their tables. Nevada’s Department of Education posted on their Instagram about the students’ business skills on the day of the market:
“These students have impressive customer service skills! They are eager to show you what they are selling or made with a smile or greeting. We are sold!”
Nevada’s Department of Education observation supports the value that students gain from practicing what they learned in a real life scenario. Students gain tangible skills and knowledge that they can carry with them throughout their lives, but they also gain something more. They gain confidence in themselves and in the possibilities that lie before them, something that can be hindered in childhood, especially in disadvantaged communities. Students also gain a sense of belonging. One student told a farmers market volunteer that they are happy for their garden at school because they didn’t have any friends but that changed once they joined their school’s garden club. The smile on the student’s face showed how a school-garden program can not only empower students but change their lives in so many ways!
A Special Occasion: 10 years of Green our Planet
Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Ciara Byrne, receiving a surprise banner-turned-card to celebrate Green Our Planet’s 10 years in business as a nonprofit.
Accompanying the joy and empowerment that enveloped the student farmers market was a special energy unlike any other before, and for good reason. Green Our Planet is officially 10 years old this year, and this market felt like a celebration of the nonprofit’s journey. With what started with a single Clark County School District school, the market 10 years later had 58 schools attend and over 550 student Farmpreneurs run the show.
It’s always wonderful to see schools return every year with the ambition to expand their creativity and profits beyond previous markets. There’s also something special about seeing newcomers as well. One of the newcomer groups this year was led by a teacher who decided the Giant Student Farmers Market would be her first field trip as a teacher. Krissy Stevens wrote on her Instagram:
“Very 1st field trip as a teacher was a success!! We went to the @greenourplanet farmers market & the kids did so amazing!! I can’t wait until next year, now that we have some experience, and really go above and beyond! So proud of all these guys”
Teachers do the extra lifting to make our farmers market possible. Without their dedication and belief in the power of garden-based learning, our mission wouldn’t be possible. Knowing teachers- both the repeat market attendees and newcomers alike- often feel the way Krissy felt about her experience makes us hopeful and ready to continue for another 10 years. Besides, having the largest market in Green Our Planet history with the most students yet practicing real life skills was a wonderful affirmation to the work we do to bring the magic and majesty of nature and our environment to students across the country.
The Student Farmers Market was a Team Effort
This market was Green Our Planet’s 10th Giant Student Farmers Market and the largest market yet with almost 600 students Farmpreneurs and the most customers ever in attendance (the number of customers will be revealed soon for our Instagram contest)! Students made $21,700, twice what they made last Aprilwhich is an amazing outcome and testament to the increase in the number of customers at the market and to the students’ improvement in their customer service and marketing skills. But the most extraordinary thing about the market is the number of partners, sponsors and community members involved and how well they work together to make it all possible for our students. Principals and teachers ensure that the students are taught the entrepreneurial skills to run a business. The CCSD works hard to figure out the buses, ensuring the students have lunch to eat while at the market and that the students are well protected by CCSD police in addition to security from Downtown Summerlin. Sponsors and other partners help fund Green Our Planet’s school programs and the farmers market. And volunteers from the community step up enthusiastically twice a year to help run the market on the big day. It’s because of this wonderful team effort that Green Our Planet is able to create joy and equity in the Las Vegas community and across the nation.
Thank you to the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix for being our Presenting Sponsor this year and to all our generous partners for also being a part of the youth garden movement: