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Farmers Market offers greater access to the community

by Julie Heflin last modified Jun 16, 2010 11:41 AM

June 10, 2010

LOUISVILLE, Ky. Customers of the Gray Street Farmers Market don’t need cash on hand to purchase healthy home-grown food. A new EBT/Debit machine allows the market to accept food stamps and process debit cards. The machine was purchased with a grant from the Kentucky Farmers Market Association. This addition expands access to area residents with lower incomes and stimulates market success by making it easier for customers to make purchases.

This is the second year the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences (SPHIS) has partnered with the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness to improve food access and have a positive impact on community and individual health.

Open each Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. rain or shine in the 400 block of East Gray St., the market offers an abundance of fruits and vegetables, fresh breads, poultry, beef jerky and many lunch options. There are 16 returning vendors and three new farmers.

“Gray Street is one of four markets dedicated to increasing availability of fresh foods to generally underserved areas in what are known as ‘food deserts.’ This wonderful asset is helping create a healthier hometown for the community,” said Adewale Troutman, MD, director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness.

The recent State of Food report issued by the Food in Neighborhoods Committee of the Healthy Hometown Movement gives a snapshot of food access in Louisville. Read the complete report at www.louisvilleky.gov/health.

Eating fresh produce from our farmers markets is also a benefit for residents who are joining Mayor Jerry Abramson and Dr. Troutman in Lose it Louisville – the 100,000 lb Challenge, a call for our community to lose a total of 100,000 lbs by Labor Day. More information on the program can be found at www.loseitlouisville.com.

The Gray St. market is located within walking distance to a large number of downtown businesses such as Norton Healthcare, Metro United Way, Red Cross and UofL Healthcare, partners in the initiative. It is also near residential areas including Liberty Green, Dosker Manor and Shepherd square.

“The environmental benefits of farmers markets are remarkable,” said Richard Clover, MD, dean of the School of Public Health and Information Sciences. “The average distance food travels from farm to plate is 1,500 miles. Local food, however, doesn’t have to travel far, which reduces fossil fuel use, carbon dioxide emissions and packing material waste.”

For a complete list of all Louisville farmers markets go to www.louisvilleky.gov. For specific information on the Gray St. Market visit louisville.edu/sphis/gsfm .

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