It's all happenin' at the Urbana Market!
URBANA — Pesky rains may postpone its debut, but the popular “Sprouts at the Market” is scheduled to return to the the Urbana farmers market on Saturday, along with a bicycle safety rodeo for kids.
The monthly Sprouts event gives children ages 3 to 8 a chance to learn about eating seasonal, healthful foods. They will have a chance to meet farmers, get nutrition information and sample some of the fruits, vegetables, cheese, honey and other farm products available at the city's Market at the Square at Lincoln Square in downtown Urbana.
The first Sprouts event this weekend, scheduled for 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, will be a seed-planting workshop co-sponsored by the Champaign County Extension Master Gardeners. Kids can learn about the life cycle of plants, examine several different kinds of seeds and plant a bush bean seed to take home.
Sprouts sessions in June, July, August and September will focus on summer and fall produce. Each participating child receives a certificate, and t-shirts will be available for purchase.
Jennifer Hewitt, a graduate of the University of Illinois’ Food Science and Human Nutrition program, coordinated the Sprouts at the Market project in 2008-09 with Market Director Lisa Bralts and will be back for the 2011 season.
It’s important to instill good eating habits at a young age, Hewitt said in a release, and Sprouts at the Market lets kids try new things and gets them excited about healthy eating (a challenge for any parent).
The goal is to get them to think more about their food and where it comes from, Bralts said, and “to discover that healthy food tastes great."
While you're at the market, your kids can practice bicycle safety at a free Bike Rodeo and helmet fitting hosted by the C-U Safe Routes to Schools Project. The event, scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon, gives kids an opportunity for kids to practice skills that can help them become better bicyclists and avoid typical crashes, organizers say.
And on May 28, the city of Urbana’s Public Arts Program will hold its first Art at the Market workshop from 8 a.m. to noon.
“Found Object Fridge Art: Upcycled Bottle Cap Magnets” with Traci Pines kicks off 2011 season of the series, offered by the city on the last Saturday of each month during the Market at the Square season.
The theme this year is “Nontraditional Materials,” encouraging artistic expression through unexpected uses of recycled and everyday objects. On May 28 participants will create whimsical bottle cap magnets by collaging objects such as shells, beads, stamps and pictures.
The workshop will be held from 8 a.m. to noon in the City of Urbana tent at the northwest entrance to the Market at the Square.
Future dates are June 25, July 30, Aug. 27, Sept. 24, and Oct. 29.
All workshops are free to the public and open to all ages. Participants do not need to register. The full schedule can be found at http://urbanaillinois.us/artworkshops.
The program is part of the Urbana Public Arts Program, providing opportunities for residents to engage with the arts.
Photo: Tomatoes from Sullivan at Urbana's 2005 Market at the Square. Darrell Hoemann/The News-Gazette