New Farmers Market Brings Healthy Food To South LA - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

New Farmers Market Brings Healthy Food To South LA

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South Los Angeles, CA -

Much has been written about the unavailability of fresh food, especially fruits and vegetables in lower-income neighborhoods. This morning we take one step in the right direction with the opening of a full-service farmers market on south Vermont.

A full-service weekly farmers' market will open February 22, 2013 at the Crenshaw Christian Center (CCC). Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) was selected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) tobegin this farmers market in South Los Angeles, an area known for being a food desert. The $81,240 grant is used towards startup and operations costs.

"It's not a coincidence that South Los Angeles both lacks access to fresh produce and experiences disproportionately high rates of obesity and diet-related chronic disease," said Sondos Islam, PhD, MPH, MS, Associate Professor and Director of the Urban Public Health (MPH) Program at CDU. "Increasing availability of fresh fruits and vegetables is a significant preventative measure to improve the health outcomes of our community and meet the demand of residents in this food desert."

CDU MPH graduate students and faculty member Cynthia Davis applied for the grant through the Agriculture Marketing Service's 2012 Farmers' Market Promotion Program, which aims to improve access to healthy food,strengthen local economies and reinforce the connection between agricultural producers and their consumers. The program expands domestic farmers' markets, roadside stands, community-supported agricultural programs, agri-tourism activities, and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities.

"I look forward to working with MPH candidate graduate students, community volunteers, Vermont Village Community Development Corporation and the church leadership in ensuring the success of the farmers' market as well as in helping to facilitate increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables for the community and the membership of Crenshaw Christian Center " said Professor Davis.

The grant application was part of the Urban Public Health (MPH) Program's grant writing course taught by Professor Cynthia Davis who has been an employee of the university for the past 28 years.  Professor Davis has extensive experience in developing multiple community-based disease prevention and health promotion programs targeting racial/ethnic minority populations throughout Los Angeles County.

"The church is very excited about the collaboration and hosting of this market, as this is something we've wanted to see happen in our own community for some time now," says, Ms. Angela Evans, CEO of CCC.   I have always supported other farmers' markets throughout the years and look forward to shopping at our very own communitymarket at the church."

"This year's Farmers' Market Promotion Program awards are diverse and illustrate the many different ways farmers' are directly connecting to communities and consumers," stated Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan in a press release. "From starting up mobile markets to helping new farmers' and ranchers, these grants will create new economic opportunities and encourageconsumers to eat healthier."

Beginning February 22, 2013 the farmers' market will be open on Fridays, from 10 AM to 2:00 PM located at the Crenshaw Christian Center, 7901 South Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles 90044

(information provided by The Charles R. Drew University Of Medicine And Science)

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