Monthly events to focus on health, nutrition

By Ryan Cornell

Now in its fourth year, the Healthy Living and Farmers Market continues to educate people about best health practices and connect them with fresh produce that can bolster their diet.

The events are held on the Kendall Community Campus in Winchester each month this summer, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on July 2, Aug. 6, Sept. 3 and Oct. 1.

Sharen Gromling, executive director of Our Health, said this is the second year the farmers market will accept EBT cards and food stamps. She said it’s an important event, especially for the downtown Winchester area.

“We live in a food desert here,” she said. “No fresh produce around and no grocery store close by, and so people who live in and around this area have a hard time getting the fresh food that they need.”

She said vendors will sell home baked goods, fresh fruits and vegetables and leafy greens.

One new face at this year’s farmers market is TEENS Inc. — Teaching Employment Enhancement Necessary for Survival — a nonprofit based in Winchester that teaches vocational agriculture programs to kids from the juvenile detention center and children with disabilities.

Chief Financial Officer Sarah Fromme said kids in the program learn to grow produce out of a 3,000-square-foot greenhouse that houses their aquaponics equipment.

She said they will sell a variety of leafy greens at the farmers market next month, including basil, cilantro, lettuce, collared greens and kale.

The farmers market will also feature a nutritionist who will offer samples of healthy recipes.

Gromling described the event as a holistic approach toward healthy living.

“We are really trying to promote a complete change in lifestyle, trying to promote living a healthy life and doing it through all aspects of living,” she said. “So trying to take a big picture view of good health and provide access to anyone who can help in all of those avenues.”

She said the event will also feature partner agencies, the Valley Health Mobile Coach and the Dental Clinic of the Northern Shenandoah Valley.

Guests who participate in a dental screening and visit a number of partner booths are eligible to receive a $5 individual and $10 family voucher for the farmers market.

The event and farmers market is free and open to the public. The campus is located at 329 N. Cameron St., Winchester.

For more information, contact Our Health at 540-536-1600 or mfalu@valleyhealthlink.com

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com