Summer is just around the corner and Thunder Bay farmers are busy planting and harvesting their fresh produce to stock up for the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s Fresh Market – an onsite farmer’s market that makes fresh, healthy and local food more accessible to our staff. This June marks the start of the fifth consecutive year of our Hospital’s Fresh Market and Katherine Mayer, Health Promotion Project Assistant, is excited to announce upcoming changes to make the 2017 market bigger and better.
“To support planning for the fifth year of our Fresh Market, we surveyed our staff to see what changes they would like to see happen this year. Over 200 staff gave their feedback which has helped to guide our decision for the 2017 market season,” explained Mayer.
Traditionally our Hospital’s Fresh Market has offered seasonal fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs, farm fresh eggs, and homemade granola. Expanding variety of items has always been a goal of market coordinators. “To increase our selection this year, we are opening a Market Stall within our regular hours of operation,” states Mayer. The Market Stall is intended to sell items that our market does not already have, such as meat and dairy products. The Market Stall and our regular participating vendors will coincide throughout the 2017 season to maintain a variety of items available.
Another addition this year is the implementation of educational workshops throughout the upcoming market season. Our vendors are great resources for local food and nutritional education, and partnering with health experts from our Hospital will be a great collaboration. “Staff can expect to see theme days that range in focusing on cooking skills, nutritious recipes and how to get the most out of seasonal produce,” said Mayer.
Hospital staff consistently voice their appreciation for the convenience of having an onsite farmer’s market, which makes ongoing evaluation important. “Considering that there are some barriers for staff accessing the market, such as shift workers, break schedules, work load, etc, there is a potential for an ordering system to be put into place that would be available to staff,” states Mayer. This will allow for staff to pre-order items and have their purchases delivered to them. Proper promotion and education will be provided once a system is confirmed.
Hosting an onsite market reduces barriers for staff, patients and families to access fresh, local produce. Having the farmers onsite allows for interaction between the growers and staff visitors, which strengthens community relationships. Although there are some upcoming changes, the same friendly environment will be expected. “If you talk to anyone who has attended our Hospital’s Fresh Market, they will tell you about the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere they experience. It is great to see the same staff returning to buy products every year, but also to see the look on excited, new costumer’s faces who are impressed with what the market has to offer – and that’s why we’re excited to highlight these new positive changes,” explained Mayer.
Join us and Thunder Bay Farmers at our Hospital’s Fresh Market every Wednesday starting June 21st to October 4th for fresh, healthy and local food!