Thursday, June 5, 2008

Loyola Joins with Village of Maywood, Area Churches, Residents to Feed Demand for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Multicultural farmers market to emphasize ethnic foods, healthier lifestyles

MAYWOOD, Ill. - For years, Maywood has lacked a major grocery store, leaving village residents without a quick and convenient access to the variety of foods needed to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Maywood residents have had to travel miles to the nearest grocery store or go to fast-food restaurants and convenience stores where prices can be significantly higher and the selection of fresh meats and vegetables is limited.

In a step towards remedying that situation, Loyola University Health System and students from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and Loyola's Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing have teamed up with the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners Program, the Village of Maywood Special Events Committee, area churches and community residents to organize the Maywood Multicultural Farmers Market. The first one will be held from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, June 7, at St. Eulalia Catholic Church, Ninth Avenue and Bataan Drive, Maywood.

"This community-wide farmers market is a culmination of many individual efforts to bring healthier food choices to the residents and friends of the Village of Maywood," said Johnny Diggs, public information officer for the village, which is underwriting the market. "We'd like to give special thanks to those partners and Loyola, all of whom have been extremely active in bringing more healthy-living alternatives to our residents."

The market is the first of its kind in Maywood, an area that has high levels of chronic illnesses that are partially caused and worsen by poor eating and exercise habits, said Lena Hatchett, Ph.D., assistant professor, department of preventative medicine and epidemiology, Stritch School of Medicine.

"There is a whole host of people in Maywood who have no access to fresh fruits and vegetables that can help prevent serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and some cancers," said Hatchett, one of the organizers of the farmers market.

"The Maywood Multicultural Farmers Market will help us to prevent disease and to build healthy eating habits among area families, many of whom are at risk for these life-threatening conditions," Hatchett added.

Every other Saturday through October, Maywood area residents will be able to purchase low-cost ethnic fruit and vegetables, herbs, arts and crafts, flowers and gourmet items produced by local Latino, Asian-American and African-American farmers and gardeners at the market at St. Eulalia Catholic Church. About 10 to 20 venders are expected at the first market and more will be added and the variety of offerings will widen as the growing season progresses.

The market will also feature entertainment, gardening advice, tips on cooking low-fat nutritious meals, free samples, methods to lower stress and reduce weight, fun exercises and information on the link between diet and blood pressure and hidden fat in foods.

The Maywood Multicultural Farmers Market will take place from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., the second and third Saturdays of every month through October at St. Eulalia Catholic Church, Ninth Avenue and Bataan Drive, Maywood. Interviews and photo opportunities are available. Contact Perry Drake at (708) 216-7940 or call (708) 216-9000 and have him paged.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.