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Published in News Stories on June 19, 2017

Farm-fresh fruits and veggies on sale Thursday

Media Contact: Ruth Cummins at 601-984-1104 or ricummins@umc.edu.

When University of Mississippi Medical Center employees said in a recent campus survey that they want access to fresh produce at work, their voices were heard loud and clear.

On Thursday, UMMC is bringing a Farmer's Market straight to campus. Employees and students can purchase farm-fresh fruits and veggies to eat at work, at home or on the go as part of the Medical Center's Everyday Wellness initiative.

“This is something people mentioned in the interest survey and in conversations around campus,” said Dr. Joshua Mann, professor and chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine. “We think this is a great way to showcase healthy eating and make it convenient for employees, students, patients and families to get fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables.”

“Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is beneficial to your overall health and may reduce your risk for heart disease and even protect against certain cancers,” said Brea Cole, manager of the medically integrated wellness program for Preventive Medicine and a wellness champion for UMMC, who made the arrangements for bringing in the Farmer's Market.

The market “is another step in our efforts to make our workplace culture at UMMC more overtly focused on wellness,” Mann said. “We want people to eat healthy, and putting fresh, nutritious food in front of our eyes is an excellent reminder.”

The market will be set up in the Clinical Sciences walkway from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Cash, checks and debit or credit cards will be accepted.

Cooper Farms and Vineyard is the vendor, bringing a selection that includes blueberries, butter beans, butternut and spaghetti squash, cantaloupes, carrots, eggplant, honey, new potatoes, okra, peas, peppers, snap beans, sweet corn, sweet onions, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and zucchini.

“Fruits and vegetables are nutrient dense foods, meaning they are low in calories and fat and full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber,” said Dr. Josie Bidwell, assistant professor of nursing. “This fact makes them a nutritional powerhouse that should be on your table at every meal.

“Having a farmer's market on site at UMMC is such an exciting opportunity for employees to pick up great, inexpensive, locally grown fruits and vegetables,” said Bidwell, host of the Monday “Healthy and Fit” segment of the Southern Remedy wellness program, which airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on MPB. “Supporting our local farmers is a great way to feed your family a healthy meal and help the Mississippi economy at the same time.”

Preventive Medicine hopes to make the market a recurring attraction. “How frequently we do it depends in part on how many fruits and vegetables are sold,” Mann said. “If we have really good participation, we can bring them back more and more often.”

For more information, send an email to jmann4@umc.edu.