Evan, Hardy, & Young
Potato Grower's Council - Potato Grower's Magazine
By Sarah Doyle
Educating consumers about the nutritional benefits of Idaho® potatoes has been a priority since I began working for the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) nearly 10 years ago. One of our greatest challenges has been the popular low-carb diet, which, in my opinion, will never entirely go away. However, childhood obesity is now headline news, which makes it more important than ever to help children understand the important role that potatoes can play in a healthy diet.
During the past several years, the IPC has launched many programs geared towards children that have:
Provided nutritional information on potatoes
Showcased Idaho’s natural resources
Encouraged folks of all ages to look for the genuine “Grown in Idaho®” seal
In January 2013 we launched an online education program called “Smashed Spuddy Buddy” with Idaho’s First Lady, Lori Otter. Children across the country were encouraged to watch a short, animated video about how potatoes grow and what differentiates Idaho® potatoes from those grown in other states. With the help of a parent, children were also encouraged to submit a photo of themselves holding a colored drawing of Spuddy Buddy. Seventy-five kids were randomly selected to receive a $100 American Express gift card. The program was an effective way for the IPC to reach kids and their parents, and remind them of the natural goodness of Idaho® potatoes.
The video, How a Potato Grows is permanently located in the children’s section of the IPC website, at www.idahopotato.com/kids. This section also contains interactive games, coloring pages, a word search, and a selection of kid-friendly recipes.
For the new fiscal year, the IPC has created several programs intended to reach kids and their parents, including:
Back to School Recipe Blitz: Quick and easy-to-make recipes will be featured on the IPC’s website in September. New dinner suggestions, photographs, and nutritional information will be added to our rapidly expanding, newly digitized recipe database.
App Contest: We’re working with a top video game designer to launch a two-tiered contest. Gamers will be challenged to create an app/game featuring Idaho® potatoes. We’ll pick our five favorites and invite kids across the country to try them out and vote for the winner, who will be awarded a $5,000 cash prize.
YouTube Video Contest: We will host a nationwide video contest on YouTube that will have a special category for kids 17-years-old and younger. We’ll encourage kids (with the help of an adult) to demonstrate how to prepare their favorite healthy Idaho® potato recipe.
Great Big Idaho® Potato Truck: The Truck will wrap up its 2013 tour at the annual Future Farmers of America meeting in Knoxville, Tenn. This is one of the largest conferences in the country for students between the ages of 12 and 21.
We’re excited to implement these programs during the coming year, which will educate a very important, influential younger audience.