Fresh produce program feeds kids, families

A new Knoxville program has helped kids and their families eat healthier.
Updated: Jun. 10, 2020 at 4:38 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -A new Knoxville program has helped kids and their families eat healthier.

Paper bags were filled to the top and dropped off at an Emerald Youth location in Mechanicsville.

“The food being for the children that we serve and their families, so whether it is their brothers and their sisters or grandparents, whomever in their house they’re living with, it’s benefiting them," said John Crooks, the Communications Director for Emerald Youth.

An organization called YOCO helps kids with diet and exercise.

It’s funding HATponics, a vegetable farm that grows vegetables in water, to create bags of fruit, vegetables and herbs.

“The idea of this is hopefully it grows to 200, 300 families that it’s serving. HATponics had that capability and we love to support the local business that they are," said Olivia Ragland, co-founder of YOCO.

“HATponics has a mission to feed 30 million people by 2030 through our sustainable farming practices. And so this is just one step closer to that. So our missions really just align with one another," said Alison Oakes, a spokesperson for HATponics.

Since YOCO is funding the program through donations, the kids and families eat for free.

“That’s the biggest part is just creating a foundation and then helping to provide the resources so they can sustainably act it out in their lives and can grow with it," said Jake Ragland, co-founder of YOCO.

Parents say it’s the freshest food they’ve ever tasted.

Nearly 100 bags have been given out at three Emerald Youth Locations.

If you’re interested in donating to the program, you can do so here.

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