Health Department’s Farmers Market Helps Low-Income Families Eat Healthy


Thursday is the last Farmers Market of the season at the Columbus Health Department.

It's an opportunity for parents to help kids change habits, and Commit to Be Fit. 

Moms know getting kids to eat right can be tough, but the secret is starting young.

LaMya, 6, and Tatiana, 3, love their mom’s lunchtime cooking.

On this day, Marissa Pierce has prepared whole wheat pinwheels, crunchy vegetables and fruit salad.  

“I want them to get the benefits from all the right foods. So, I always try to incorporate a grain, a meat, a vegetable, a fruit, and some dairy in each of their meals,” said Marissa.

Marissa says her own mom made sure to introduce fruits and vegetables at an early age, so she's done the same.  

That's a good plan, says Dr. Mysheika Roberts, of the Columbus Health Department.

"Most children have developed their food palate by the time they are five years of age.  So, if you expose them to fresh fruits and vegetables early in life, they're more likely to continue that through their adult life,” said Dr. Mysheika Roberts, Columbus Health Department Medical Director.

But both women know that feeding kids well isn't easy if you live in a neighborhood with few grocers. Marissa has a car, but many neighbors don't.

They end up finding fast food cheap and easier to reach.

"Sometimes we carpool to the grocery store because everybody around here doesn't have a vehicle,” said Marissa. “It’s very tough because I think that the fast food chains are closer. The corner stores are all closer than the grocery stores.”

That's why the Columbus Health Department started its annual Farmer's Market. There were more than 20 vendors in 2014, and coupons to stretch dollars for families on food stamps. 

"It fills a huge gap. Unfortunately, we only have it for three weeks in the summer time,” said Roberts.

Since some folks may be unfamiliar with some of the fruits and vegetables, the health department also shows people how to prepare the foods at special events.