Thursday, October 16, 2008

Farm market takes food stamps, aims for health: Fresh food made readily available in area that needs it, advocates say

COURTNEY HERGESHEIMER

Saturday, June 14, 2008 By Amanda Dolasinski THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

The South Side Farmers' Market bills itself as the only area farmers' market to take food stamps. Free blood-pressure checks and medical advice also are offered.
A farmers' market that says it's the only one in Columbus that accepts food stamps opened yesterday to provide affordable, nutritious food to South Side residents.

The South Side Farmers' Market at SouthPointe Marketplace, 3459 S. High St., also intends to educate adults and children about healthful eating habits and lifestyle decisions, its organizers said.

"We're helping focus people to pay attention to health indicators and be conscious of their health," said J.D. Beiting, director of strategic alliances for Children's Hunger Alliance.
Research has been conducted on areas struggling with obesity and access to food, said Julie Accetta, spokeswoman for Children's Hunger Alliance.

"This ZIP code has really poor nutrition and really high rates of obesity, so this farmers' market is part of a big initiative," she said.

In addition to the fresh food outside, people are invited inside the building to receive free blood-pressure checks and medical advice from Columbus Public Health.

"It's because of all of us working together that we're able to be successful," Beiting said. "It's really the strength and backbone of the South Side."

About 80 percent of the products for sale at the market are cultivated locally. Ten vendors displayed melons, strawberries, potatoes, radishes, gourds, homemade pastries and honey.
Beiting said people can expect to see a larger variety of food through the summer. "In addition to just in-season fruits and vegetables, there's going to be a vendor there selling plants to keep costs low for you," he said.

Marsha Swinehart, a nursing teacher at Capital University, bought meat that was raised without antibiotics or hormones, as well as seven-grain bread, from the National Trail Family Farm in Preble County.

"I want to support locally grown food," she said.

Accetta said the market welcomes people from every income level who want to save on grocery bills.

"Farmers' markets in general tend to be lower cost because it's really just coming from the farm to your house," she said.

The farmers' market will be open from 2 to 6 p.m. every Friday until the beginning of October.
Health services will be offered the first and third Friday of every month.

1 comment:

Local Matters said...

The farmers market that happens each year at the health dept. accepts food stamps.