Markets Improve Access to Locally Grown, Environmentally Responsible Food
May 26, 2011
Cleveland Clinic kicks of its 2011 Community Farmers Market season on June 1 with the opening of the North Union Farmers Market on Crile Mall off East 100th Street. Additional markets will open across the region throughout the summer.
Cleveland Clinic began the Community Farmers Market program 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 flagship market on Cleveland Clinic’s main campus each week including residents, patients, visitors and employees.
The main campus market will run for 19 consecutive weeks, occurring every Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. from June 1 through Oct. 5. Visitors to the market this year can look forward to fruits, vegetables, eggs, bread, flowers and other seasonal produce from 25 to 35 local farmers. The first market on June 1 will celebrate the start of the growing and harvest season in Northeast Ohio with special recipes and free reusable grocery bags for the first 2,000 attendees.
“We’re excited to be back at Cleveland Clinic for a fourth season,” said Donita Anderson, Executive Director of North Union Farmers Market. “This is a great collaborative effort to educate the community about the health, environmental 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 Cleveland Clinic attempts to address though the implementation of North Union Farmers Market on its main campus.
“The single largest risk factor for premature death 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 coupons from government agencies for qualifying individuals through the USDA Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, Cuyahoga County Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Program and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In 2010, hundreds of families benefited from the availability of these vouchers. In addition, Cleveland Clinic is partnering with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland to bring their young participants to the market.
“These young people 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.”
The festive, community atmosphere of the market will be enhanced by music from local bands. Visitors can look forward to cooking demonstrations, free food samples and recipes for items in the peak of their season. In addition, Cleveland Clinic will provide health education for all visitors. Topics vary each week. Free parking is available for one hour to market visitors in all Cleveland Clinic garages.
The Cleveland Clinic Community Farmers Market program is a collaborative effort between the Wellness Institute, the Office for a Healthy Environment and Community Outreach. For more information on the 2011 Community Farmers Market, including updates on the regional markets opening later this summer, visit www.clevelandclinic.org/farmersmarket.
About Cleveland Clinic
Celebrating its 90th anniversary, Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. It 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. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. 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. About 2,800 full-time salaried physicians and researchers and 11,000 nurses represent 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic Health System includes a main campus near downtown Cleveland, nine community hospitals and 15 Family Health Centers in Northeast Ohio, Cleveland Clinic Florida, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Cleveland Clinic Canada, and opening in 2013, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. In 2010, there were 4 million visits throughout the Cleveland Clinic health system and 155,000 hospital admissions. Patients came for treatment from every state and from more than 100 countries. Visit us at www.clevelandclinic.org. Follow us at www.twitter.com/ClevelandClinic.
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Stephanie A. Jansky, 216.636.5869, firstname.lastname@example.org