For some West Virginians living in rural areas, access to healthy produce can be limited. As part of promoting a healthy lifestyle, TransCanada teamed up with West Virginia University’s (WVU) Extension Services Family Nutrition Program to provide children throughout the state access to locally farmed produce free of cost through West Virginia’s Kids Farmers Market Program.
“Much like the university and its extensions services, we find ourselves embedded in so many communities throughout West Virginia,” said Emily Stibbs, TransCanada’s U.S. community investment lead. “Partnering with WVU’s Family Nutrition Program in helping to provide access to fresh produce to children throughout the state is a great opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of healthy eating.”
The program allows children of all ages to receive $4 in farmers market vouchers, or ‘kids coupons’ to purchase fresh, locally sourced produce from a WVU Extension Services hosted market at local schools, childcare centers and other locations in communities across the Mountain State. Through 2017, the program provided access to fresh fruits and vegetables to more than 6,000 children.
"The funding from TransCanada has allowed us to continue expanding the program and reach counties that we were not able to serve in the past. We anticipate being able to reach over 5,000 new children with the funding."
— Kristin McCartney, SNAP-Ed Director, WVU
Being able to provide children access to things, such as free vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh bell peppers is only a portion of the Family Nutrition Program’s mission.
“We also provide a classroom environment opportunity for kids to learn the importance of eating healthy, and to provide them with basic skills and techniques needed to prepare this food,” explained McCartney.
Additionally, the program focuses on sourcing its supply of produce from local farmers, further helping to create a stronger local economy and a more sustainable food system in West Virginia.
“As you can imagine, educating an entire state’s worth of children on the importance of fruits and vegetables calls for a lot of produce,” said McCartney. “We pride ourselves on working with local farmers and farming organizations to make sure we’re able to get the large supply of produce needed to successfully run the program.”
For TransCanada’s impact in West Virginia, it reaches well beyond its 900 plus employees that call the Wild and Wonderful home.
“At the end of the day, our goal is to make sure we’re doing what any good neighbor would do,” noted Stibbs. “It makes me proud to not only work for a company like TransCanada, but help play a role in making TransCanada a part of our communities.”
TransCanada has a significant and growing presence in many communities across North America, including West Virginia. As part of TransCanada’s community investment program, we strive to partner with incredible community organizations to help build strong, vibrant communities where families and local businesses can thrive.
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