Produce isn't usually synonymous with giving jobs to teens, but soon both may come to Fair Oaks.
Local nonprofit BeMoneySmartUSA is working to bring a Wednesday farmers market to Plaza Park in Fair Oaks Village, and has received preliminary approval from the .
"Once teens find out that we have an opportunity, they come running to us," said Don Hall, who founded the organization with his wife.
BeMoneySmartUSA organizes weekend farmers markets behind Sunrise Mall and in Carmichael Park. Teens are paid to set up the markets and help give samples, but not before they show up on a Saturday morning for a five-hour class on financial and career advice, turn in a resume and interview for the job.
"We don't just give them their money and say thanks and move on," said Hall, who lives in Carmichael. "We do weekly lessons with them."
Hall said there are many benefits–the teens learn valuable skills, connect with their communities and earn a paycheck. And it'll give farmers a Wednesday outlet to sell their fruits and vegetables.
"A lot of the farmers need good midweek places to go," he said. "This is not going down to the guy who has 1,000 acres. We have people who have as few as three to four acres."
In addition to the planned Wednesday farmers market in Fair Oaks, the organization has a weekend farmers market in Folsom in the works. The pair will create jobs for 40 to 50 more teens, he said.
BeMoneySmartUSA has been running farmers markets since 2010, but has been teaching teens for three and a half years, Hall said.
"My wife and I, we've both always had a soft spot for helping kids."
The origin of the nonprofit's farmers a market is another lesson for the teens who work there. Hall said the organization started only teaching classes, until its state grant funding ran out.
"We couldn't give the classes for free anymore," Hall said. "We had to come up with a way to be self-sustaining. It's essentially the lessons we're teaching the kids anyway. You cant depend someone is going to save your bacon–you have to be self-sufficient."
Hall said he hopes to open the Fair Oaks farmers market by April. During the winter, the market will close down a small portion of California Avenue. In the summer, it will be held in the park in Fair Oaks Village.
Hall will next meet with members of the Park District's board of directors on March 21 to determine official approval of the market. Depending on the outcome of that meeting will determine the market's fate, said FORPD recreation supervisor Katy Albers.
"Because we've never done a farmers market before and because it's something the community has wanted for a long time, we just feel it would bring good light to the possibility that it does move forward that they present in front of the board," Albers said. "It's to highlight the benefits of the farmers market and all the key elements."
Albers doesn't want there to be any mistake either. It's something the Parks District wants to approve; there are proper protocols though.
"We hope the farmers market brings more people to The Village on a day when there aren't necessarily a lot of people here (which happens to be Wednesday evening), will help Village businesses and bring life into the Village area," Albers said.
The recreation supervisor explained local businesses continue exploring proactive ways to bring attention to The Village with Second Saturday initiatives, festivals and other events, so attempting to bring a farmers market certainly can't hurt the promotion of local business.
"It's literally just getting people to turn off of Sunrise Boulevard and drive through here," Albers said. "I truly believe when people drive through here, it's really something you can't find anywhere else in the area."