Posted 7/27/2018 by UHBlog
A healthy, alert and creative team of employees can significantly improve workplace productivity and reduce downtime. Ask us about the benefits of a fresh and nutritious diet.
Most people understand the health benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables. That’s one reason why farmers markets are growing in popularity across the country.
In 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) listed about 8,700 farmers markets throughout the U.S. compared to fewer than 3,000 at the turn of the century. The growth in popularity, the USDA says, has been spurred by increased consumer interest in obtaining fresh produce directly from the farm.
Advantages of Fresh Food
There are several reasons that the freshly harvested produce sold at a farmers market is preferable to food that is grown far away and trucked long distances to be sold at the supermarket, says clinical dietitian Janet Kramer, MPH, RDN, LD.
“When fruits and vegetables are picked yesterday, they are super-fresh,” Ms. Kramer says. “Many foods at the supermarket lose nutritional value during long transportation and storage periods.”
Then there is the yum factor. “Everything tastes so much better when it’s just picked,” Ms. Kramer says.
Employers increasingly understand the benefits of hosting workplace farmers markets, Ms. Kramer says. For instance, University Hospitals hosts a weekly farmers market on its main campus, which is open to the public.
“Healthier people are more productive,” she says. “Healthy eating can lead to a well-nourished body, a sharper mind, higher productivity and fewer sick days.”
Not Just Produce
Farmers markets are often more than fresh fruit and vegetables. Many times, vendors also sell sandwiches and other foods. There might be entertainment or informational tables.
UH’s farmers market, for example, features picnic tables and music to create an atmosphere that invites shoppers to relax and linger.
"It’s a fun atmosphere and a great escape from the office,” Ms. Kramer says. “Once you get a break from work, you’re rested, refreshed and ready to go again.”
Although it may not be feasible for smaller employers to host an on-site farmers market, they can still encourage workers to visit a nearby market at lunchtime, Ms. Kramer says. If the farmers market is close, employees get the added bonus of a walk during lunchtime.
Farmers Market Shopping Tips
Online sites such as The Community Food Guide and NorthernOhioTourism.com offer tips for shopping at the farmers market, such as:
- Look for a customer information booth to get cooking tips and other information
- Produce a little dirty? No worries. Just give it a good scrub before eating or cooking.
- Try a new food on every visit. You won’t know if you like it until you try it – and you may even find a new favorite.
To learn more about University Hospitals’ occupational health and safety services, connect with University Hospitals Employer Solutions for more information.
Janet Kramer, MPH, RDN, LD is a clinical dietitian, Rainbow Ambulatory Practice, at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. You can request an appointment with a dietitian or any other University Hospitals healthcare professional online.