North Carolina SweetPotato Commission Teams Up With Ripe Revival to Launch Free After School Program
BENSON, NC - While classrooms may be the place where children go to gain more knowledge, the learning doesn’t stop when they step out the door. To bring useful ag education to the students of North Carolina, the North Carolina SweetPotato Commission (NCSPC) recently announced a new partnership with Ripe Revival. Through the alliance, the organization will host a first-of-its-kind event in connection with the Harrison Family YMCA’s after-school program.
“The growers, packers, and shippers of the NC SweetPotato industry give every day to our local communities and beyond, by providing the state’s vegetable and one of the world’s top superfoods, the sweetpotato! We at the North Carolina SweetPotato Commission are excited to have the opportunity to offer additional sweetness to our communities by giving back while continuing to celebrate our big anniversary milestone,” said Michelle Grainger, Executive Director of the NCSPC. “We couldn’t agree more with our industry partners, Ripe Revival, that the United Way and the Harrison Family YMCA provide incredible support in their community, and we are honored to add to that community support and early childhood enrichment—even if for an afternoon.”
NCSPC has crafted an afternoon of fun for children, through which they will learn all about sweetpotatoes, according to a press release. Several activities centered around the orange superfood will take place during the after-school event at the Harrison Family YMCA, with approximately 55 children expected to participate.
“We are honored and excited for our partnership with the North Carolina SweetPotato Commission, Ripe Revival, and the United Way, as they are all pivotal organizations in our community,” said Jacquelyn Price, Chief Executive Officer of the Harrison Family YMCA. “In our After School Program, we focus on character development, STEAM activities, community service, and physical activity, and this sweetpotato event is an awesome opportunity for our children to learn about and engage with a food that is so important to our state. We are looking forward to this afternoon full of education, creativity, and fun for our kids.”
As noted in the release, the activities will offer information about careers in agriculture, sweetpotato art, and general fun facts about NC sweetpotatoes, with NCSPC’s very own beloved mascot Spencer Sweepotato in attendance.
During the event, children will have the opportunity to taste a delicious smoothie that incorporates NC sweetpotatoes and discuss their nutrition with Ripe Revival’s onsite Registered Dietitian, Sarah Hester MS, RD.
“It has been shown that it may take upwards of fifteen ‘exposures’ for a child to accept a new food. This event provides children many different ways to interact or have exposure with sweetpotatoes—through taste, touch, art, and more! My hope is that children learn to love this amazing veggie and continue to know their importance to our state and their own way of eating,” said Sarah Hester MS, RD of Ripe Revival.
Having worked with sweetpotato farmers, distributors, and processors for over a decade, Ripe Revival’s Chief Executive Officer Will Kornegay has a deep passion for exposing children to the powerful superfood.
“Our mission at Ripe Revival is to serve our communities through food. We do that by helping farmers market their crops, mentoring the next generation of farmers, distributing food to families in need, and empowering communities through agriculture,” Kornegay said. “We’re so thankful for our community partnerships that have made this event possible.”
In addition to the fun activities taking place at the YMCA, children will also be able to take the fun home with them with their NCSPC swag bag, which includes fresh sweetpotatoes as well as several delicious and nutritious recipes, a Spencer Sweetpotato plush doll and stickers, and activity books and crayons.
Two classrooms, one for grade levels K–2 and another for grade levels 3–5, will serve for children to complete excerpts from the NCSPC’s activity workbook pages as they wait to be picked up by their parents.
“Partnership is a cornerstone to a stronger community, and we are so pleased to join together in this event that promotes healthy eating and appreciation for our superfood, the sweetpotato,” said Ginny Mohrbutter, Executive Director of United Way Tar River Region, a partner of the Harrison Family YMCA. “As our United Way celebrates its 70th Anniversary alongside our local partners, like the YMCA and Ripe Revival, we share in the excitement of the 60th Anniversary of the North Carolina Sweetpotato Commission!”
What a unique way to generate a passion for produce in the next generation! Keep reading AndNowUKnow as we continue to bring you the latest in fresh produce.