Ohio Public Health Students Promoting Fresh Food, Nutrition; Local Farmers' Market Attracts Thousands

By Johnson, Teddi Dineley | The Nation's Health, November 2008 | Go to article overview
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Ohio Public Health Students Promoting Fresh Food, Nutrition; Local Farmers' Market Attracts Thousands


Johnson, Teddi Dineley, The Nation's Health


PUBLIC health students in Columbus, Ohio, helped bring fresh fruits and vegetables to their community this past summer, thanks in part to funding from Ohio State University's College of Public Health.

A $15,000 grant from Women & Philanthropy, a charitable organization at the Ohio State University Foundation, enabled the College of Public Health to help support Columbus Public Health's fourth annual farmers' markets in July and August. Moreover, the school used a portion of the funds to hire College of Public Health doctoral student Malaika Stubbs-Wilson, MA, to help organize the events.

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Stanley Lemeshow, PhD, dean of Ohio State University's College of Public Health, who is an APHA member, and Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman kicked off the events with a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 31.

Over the market's three consecutive Thursdays, more than 10,000 shoppers purchased farm-fresh produce from more than 20 vendors, and more than 15 students, faculty and staff from Ohio State University's College of Public Health volunteered their time and services, Stubbs-Wilson told The Nation's Health. For example, the students distributed complementary water bottles to the dozens of shoppers who waited in line in the heat. The students also assisted at the food stamps table, helped clean up after each of the three markets and kept a running count of the numbers of customers who attended the events, which were held on the lawn in front of Columbus Public Health. With an eye on next year's farmers' market, the students also administered exit surveys to customers and farmers and entered the information into a database.

From babies in strollers to older adults using walkers, residents of Columbus' downtown and East Side neighborhoods--areas known to offer limited access to fresh produce--turned out in record numbers, Stubbs-Wilson said. More than 400 low-income seniors ages 60 and older stocked up on fresh fruits and vegetables with coupon packets given to them by LifeCare Alliance, a nonprofit organization that provides services to older adults in three Ohio counties.

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