September 12th, 2016
This summer, I attended a Durham Bulls baseball game. There were a lot of concession choices in the ballpark, but one stood out from the rest. The Durham Co-op Market had a booth selling fresh watermelon, berries, and grapes for affordable prices. This concession stand vendor immediately got me thinking about the Wellness Initiative, and how parks and recreation departments can implement similar tactics when deciding which foods to sell at events. This wellness blog will give you some ideas of how to offer healthy, fresh produce at your events.
First, when deciding what fruits and veggies to offer in concession stands, consider what is in season. This chart is something that I routinely use when shopping for produce. In-season items tend to be on sale, and are more easily accessible at farmer’s markets, produce stands, and grocery stores.
It is also a good idea to establish partnerships with local grocery stores. Each year, 30% - 40% of food in America is wasted. If your parks and recreation department establishes a relationship with local grocery stores, some of this waste may be able to be avoided. If your department is having a big tournament or event where concessions will be needed, try reaching out to local stores to see if they have any produce that expires soon. You may be able to get perfectly good fruits and veggies for a discounted price (or even donated).
Community Gardens could also be a great way to get fresh produce to sell at your department events. Although the yields for community gardening would probably be low, any sales from grown produce could go toward funding and maintaining the garden. This could also be a great opportunity to advertise your existing community garden program, or establish a new one. Any leftover produce from previous events that is past its expiration date could be composted and made into nutrient rich soil for the garden. To learn more about community gardens, please watch a recording of our NCRPA Wellness Webinar from April 2015.
Finally, one great idea to sell fresh produce in your concession stand is to invite local farmers market vendors to your events. They can set up shop in your facility, and sell their goods for consumption. This would cut down of staffing costs, and allow the local farmer exposure to new markets. Vendors could return week after week, or new vendors could be featured with different produce choices. To find a North Carolina Farmer’s Market in your area, please click this link.
I hope this gives you some ideas to start selling fresh produce at your department events! If your department is serving healthy food options in your concession stands, I would love to find out more information! Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.