Beth Beckman

Fresh Kids and the Farm Fresh Festival Are Changing the Way Lil’ Sprouts Eat, Snack, and Smile

“Inspiring a connection to where food comes from, how it grows, and that wonderful spirit that is this love of growing and nurturing is how Fresh Kids was born,” says Susanne Brose, co-founder of the New York City-based healthy food-focused organization, Fresh Kids.

“Whether that’s in your flower garden or your vegetable garden, it’s exciting to give kids and sometimes adults their very first taste of that.  There’s a food awakening going on in this country and in the world right now. It’s at every level and in the most unexpected places.”

Fresh Kids began as a grassroots movement to inspire kids and families alike to live healthier lives– the vehicle being purpose-driven snacks for kids. With larger than life illustrations, transparent ingredients, and yummy bites like whole-grain and honey-kissed pretzels, their positive marketing turned mantra begins with the garden and concludes with what ends up on kids’ plates.

Fresh Kids Garden

Beth Beckman

Brose has been apart of this mindful awakening as well, as she decided to move from the tri-state area to a farm in Virginia, after losing what she describes as ‘her world’— the passing of her mother. Soon she was possessed by the agriculture, the gardens, the animals, and the community, and she found herself healthy and happy again. As she began to realign her focus on the natural world, she heard the discourse surrounding the First Lady planting a vegetable garden. “Why can’t she? Why can’t we all?” she recalls questioning. “As I listened and learned, it was a call-to-action to fight childhood obesity together, to fight childhood hunger together, to get school’s healthy together.”

“It was at that moment that I wanted to do something special and with that enthusiasm, I created something to give back,” Brose explains of what soon became Fresh Kids. She partnered with co-founder Sandra Velez, who left a career in the fashion industry working with Russell and Kimora Lee Simmons, to make “’healthy’ fabulous for all kids— especially for kids living in communities lacking access to healthy and fresh food.”

Together, Velez and Brose would grow an identity that wasn’t just for one class of kids, or food that was a privilege– instead it was a brand that forged an enormous community of people, organizations, neighborhoods, retailers, businesses, and manufactures who wanted to clean up the food system.

Fresh Kids Garden

Beth Beckman

“It was really a conversation about food access,” Brose recalls. “How do we change attitudes? We have to start with the young generation.” In the same way that Brose was able to mindfully and actively usher in a new chapter in her life, as her mother’s ended, the Fresh Kids generation will grow up understand that there is a connection to what grows in the earth and what they eat. With this, the act of nurturing and growth in all facets of life isn’t just an aspiration— it’s tangible.

Fresh Kids Garden

Beth Beckman

On September 17th from 10 AM to 4 PM Fresh Kids and the Generation Fresh Foundation (a non-profit which sprouted from Fresh Kids), will partner with the Howard Hughes Corporation to re-imagine the South Street Seaport with a festival that channels the concept of “A Day at the Farm”.

The Farm Fresh Festival for Kids will occur annually in New York City beginning with this September’s inaugural event. Festival proceeds will be donated to non-profits in NYC that are fighting childhood obesity, hunger, and poor nutrition. Harlem Grown, City Growers NYC, Green Bronx Machine, Edible Schoolyard NYC, the Fresh Air Fund, and many others organizations are among the list of recipients. Bring your Lil’ Sprouts to the “Field of Dreams” activity zone and the on-site farmer’s market, introduce them to farmers; let them play with farm animals and partake in hands-on cooking activities, craft tents, reading orchards, and much more.

For more information about Fresh Kids or to register for the Farm Fresh Festival, visit the festival’s event page

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