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4 Ways to Engage with Patients, Nutritionally

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, October 3, 2012

4.Emphasize importance of healthy eating

Using a farmers' market to promote the importance of healthy eating may seem like a no-brainer, but it's the most natural way to relate the market back to your organization. Instead of simply posting signs with your logo, include branded signage with healthy eating tips, simple recipes, or even nutritional information.

California-based Kaiser Permanente, which hosts more than 50 farmers markets and farm stands at its hospitals and healthcare facilities, cites a Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development survey that found 74% of patrons surveyed at farmers markets consumed more fruits and vegetables as a result of shopping at the market. Another 71% reported eating a greater variety of fruits and vegetables.

"We recognize that locally grown food from family farms is less taxing on the environment and ultimately healthier for those who grow and eat the food," Jan Villarante, Kaiser Permanente's director of national nutrition, said in a statement. "We've seen overwhelming evidence that when people have access to farmers' markets, they will take advantage of the market produce and increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables."

Taking the next step beyond hosting or sponsoring a farmers' market will help cement a positive impression of your brand in the eyes of patients and community members.

And, if you coordinate with other internal and external departments and organizations, farmers' markets can truly become a jumping off point to improve the health of your community.

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