What does Ohio State mean to healthy living?
Three Saturdays a year thousands of Central Ohio families and 20 local farmers converge on the front lawn of the Columbus Public Health building for a highly anticipated event: the Columbus Public Health Farmers’ Market. Columbus mayor Michael B. Coleman leads the ribboncutting. The market was established to serve families who receive public assistance from the Women, Infants, and Children program. Located just east of downtown Columbus, in a neighborhood with limited access to grocery stores with fresh food, the market abounds with Ohio-grown produce.
The College of Public Health co-sponsors the market each year by providing material needs like drinking water for shoppers and volunteers, and T-shirts to make those volunteers easy to spot. Most important, the college’s faculty, staff, and students provide 140 hours of volunteer time.
The volunteers get to see a successful public health program in action—an experience they will take with them as they embark on their public health careers. The 20 Ohio farmers who bring their produce to the market are also a vital part of the effort, and are happy to raise awareness for the value of nutritious, locally grown food. Kathy Rhoads of Rhoads Farm Market in Circleville, Ohio, says she loves the Columbus Public Health Farmers’ Market, “because we like to educate, we like to share the nutritional value of what we grow. And when we come to the city from the farm, it highlights the need we see, and we’re able to fill that need. I don’t know, it’s just kind of refreshing. It makes you feel good.”