Loyola joins with Village of Maywood, Maywood Public Library, University of Illinois Extension to feed demand for fresh fruits and vegetables in Maywood
MAYWOOD, Ill. -- For years, Maywood residents have had to travel miles to the nearest grocery store to find a healthy selection of fresh fruits and vegetables.
To help remedy that situation, Loyola University Health System and students from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine have teamed up with the Village of Maywood Special Events Committee, Maywood Public Library, University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners Program and community residents to organize the 2nd Annual Maywood Multicultural Farmers Market.
The first market will feature a health fair and takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, May 23 at the Maywood Public Library, 121 S. Fifth Ave., Maywood. Future markets will take place at the library from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., on the first and third Saturdays of June, August, September and October, and the second and third Saturdays of July.
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," added Hatchett, a public health researcher who has worked for more than a decade at reducing racial and ethnic health disparities.
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. The number of vendors at the market 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. Medical students will offer free blood pressure checks, blood-sugar level screenings and obesity awareness during the health fair.