Farmers Market partners with local hospital

Fresh food leads to good health and “a healthy heart is a happy heart.”

For 2010, the Davis Farmers Market is partnering with Sutter Davis Hospital to teach Davis how fresh produce is the healthy choice.

On Feb. 20, Davis Farmers Market and Sutter Davis Hospital kicked off their partnership in Central Park on Third and C Streets in downtown Davis. The event ran from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., focusing on February as American Heart Month.

“Nutrition and health go hand in hand,” said Courtney Wilson, marketing coordinator for Sutter Davis Hospital. “I hope that the community will gain more awareness that nutrition and farm fresh produce help you live a healthy life and maintain your health.”

At the kick-off event, Sutter Davis Hospital and Sutter West Medical Group performed free health screenings to market patrons. Staff was available to measure body composition, blood pressure and conduct glucose testing. To promote their fitness goals, Sutter Davis Hospital supplied health information and free jump ropes to attendees.

“To be able to meet and greet health professionals, I think people will react very well to that,” said Randii MacNear, executive director of the Davis Farmers Market. “The good news is that a lot of times it’s really pretty simple. You eat more fruits and vegetables in your diet, and it’s good for you. This isn’t disputed anymore. I love getting to convince people that it’s the right thing to do.”

In an effort to make their partnership a success, Sutter Davis Hospital and Davis Farmers Market are investigating more ideas on how to collaborate.

One idea is to implement goods from the market into Sutter’s hospital events and their cafeteria menus. Additionally, Davis Farmers Market may offer gift baskets with their local farm products in the hospital gift shop and provide samples in the hospital cafeteria. Both groups are also considering starting a small farmers market at Sutter and working to support one another’s classes and events.

Also visiting the Saturday market was the UC Davis Student Nutrition Association who has been working to promote healthy nutrition and exercise on campus and in the community for over 50 years. The Nutrition Association served samples and recipes of heart-healthy soups and provided advice on low-sodium alternatives.

“I feel that the partnership between Sutter Davis Hospital and the Davis Farmers Market is an excellent way to mesh both the ‘practical’ and ‘proactive’ components of health,” said senior microbiology major and Nutrition Association Coordinator Martin Bernardino. “If medicine is seen as the final intervention in ensuring one’s well-being, then practicing healthy dietary habits daily is key to sustaining health and preventing disease.”

The community could expect to see some of these new ideas come to fruition with events occurring by the end of spring, but the hospital and the market are still in the planning process, Wilson said.

“You just can’t ever stop looking for places to connect with people on a health level and with that message,” MacNear said. “And of course working with a health institution, like Sutter, is just so perfect because what they are doing is actually a liaison between fruits and vegetables and the patient.”

SAMANTHA BOSIO can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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