Clinic, North Union Farmers Market Brightens “Food Desert” in Cleveland
The 2010 North Union Farmers Market at Cleveland Clinic opens June 2 on the Crile Mall off of East 100 Street.
The North Union Farmers Market, which is sponsored by Cleveland Clinic, began in July 2008 as an effort to offer healthy, local food options to the surrounding neighborhood and employees in an environmentally-friendly way. About 2,000 shoppers visit the market each week including residents, patients, visitors and employees.
This year’s market season will run for 19 consecutive weeks, occurring every Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. from June 2 through Oct. 6. Visitors to the market this year can look forward to produce, meats, dairy, eggs, bread, flowers and other food items from more than 35 local producers and farmers. The first market on June 2 will celebrate the start of strawberry season in Northeast Ohio with special recipes and free recyclable grocery bags for all attendees.
“We’re excited to be back at Cleveland Clinic for a third season,” said Donita Anderson, Executive Director of North Union Farmers Market. “This is a great collaborative effort to educate the community about the health and economic benefits of locally grown produce.”
It is well-known that much of Cleveland is considered a “food desert” because of its lack of supermarkets. The average Cleveland resident has to travel 4.5 miles farther to a grocery store than to a fast-food restaurant, making healthy food choices and access to fresh fruits and vegetables difficult. This is a problem that the North Union Farmers Market at Cleveland Clinic attempts to address.
“The single largest risk factor for premature death for nonsmokers in Cuyahoga County is a lack of fruits and vegetables in the diet,” said Michael F. Roizen, MD, Chief Wellness Officer at Cleveland Clinic citing data from the Community Health Status Indicators report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “By breaking down barriers to accessing healthy food, we’re also having a positive effect on decreasing the rate of chronic disease in our community.”
As in previous years, farmers at the market will accept WIC and Senior Nutritional Services vouchers in addition to cash. In 2009, hundreds of families benefited from the availability of these vouchers. In addition, Cleveland Clinic is partnering with local senior housing establishments and school summer camps to bring their residents and participants to the market.
“These individuals will have the opportunity to learn about the benefits of fresh, local food,” said Elizabeth Fiordalis, Director of Community Outreach at Cleveland Clinic. “Then, they will take their purchases home and cook a meal together. It’s a great, multigenerational activity with potential positive, long-lasting health effects.”
Per the North Union Farmers Market specifications, all items must be grown using integrative pest management/low herbicide methods and picked within 24 hours of the market, allowing each item to be at its peak for taste and nutritional value. All items at the market must be grown or made within 115 miles of the Clinic’s Crile building as well, to reduce the environmental impact of the food transport process.
The festive, community atmosphere of the market will be enhanced by music from local bands each week. Visitors can look forward to cooking demonstrations, free food samples and recipes for items in the peak of their season. In addition, the Clinic will provide health education for all visitors. Free parking will be available for the first hour to market visitors in the 100th Street garage at Carnegie Avenue.
The North Union Farmers Market at Cleveland Clinic is collaborative initiative to increase healthy eating and healthy living. Multiple areas of the Clinic worked together to bring this project to life with maximum benefit to employees, the community and the environment, including the Wellness Institute, the Office for a Healthy Environment and Community Outreach. For more information on the Cleveland Clinic Community Farmers Market, visit www.clevelandclinic.org/wellness.
About North Union Farmers Market
The North Union Farmers Market champions local foods of Northeast Ohio and promotes their environmental, economic and health benefits by connecting certified producers with consumers through a network of markets.
About Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Clinic, located in Cleveland, Ohio, is a not-for-profit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Cleveland Clinic was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Approximately 1,800 full-time salaried physicians and researchers at Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland Clinic Florida represent more than 100 medical specialties and subspecialties. In 2008, there were 3.6 million outpatient visits to Cleveland Clinic and 48,300 hospital admissions. Patients came for treatment from every state and from more than 80 countries.
Stephanie Jansky, 216/636-5869, firstname.lastname@example.org