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Farmers market offered Wednesdays on Minneapolis campus

Maricella Peterson, of Love Thy Neighbor, sells fresh herbs including peppermint, oregano and lemon thyme at the farmers market at St. Kate's, as Alex Crapser '12 (right) looks on.
Maricella Peterson, of Love Thy Neighbor, sells fresh herbs including peppermint, oregano and lemon thyme at the farmers market at St. Kate's, as Alex Crapser '12 (right) looks on.
Photo by Melissa Kaelin

Local, nutritious and community-driven, the farmers market on the Minneapolis campus of St. Catherine University has taken off with a wonderful start. This summer, St. Kate’s partnered with the University of Minnesota Medical Center/Fairview to host a farmers market called Farm to Fairview at St. Kate's.

Every Wednesday, from July 6­ through October, farmers will sell Minnesota-grown produce and flowers from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the courtyard of St. Kate's Minneapolis campus, near 25th Avenue South and Sixth Street South.

You won’t find bananas or pineapples here. This market is committed to local and sustainable practices. All produce is grown in Minnesota, and although the items aren’t necessarily labeled organic, the farmers closely follow organic growing methods.

Valuable partnerships

Throughout the Twin Cities metro area, a rising number of hospitals have started farmers markets of their own to offer healthful foods and other produce in their communities.

“There is a growing understanding that healthcare is not just about disease care,” says Janet Dahlem, associate professor in St. Kate's Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies program. “What we eat, and the soil it’s grown in, is important to our health. As Hippocrates said, ‘Let food be thy medicine.’”

farmers_market3smallThe University of Minnesota Medical Center-Fairview has hosted farmers markets in previous years on its East Bank campus. When construction cropped up in the area, however, the organization found itself in need of a new location. Fairview contacted St. Kate's due to its proximity across the street from the Riverside campus of the UMMC-Fairview hospital system.

Faculty, staff and students in the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health at St. Kate’s stepped forward, with the support of college administration, and invited the farmers market to set up on the courtyard in front of the Minneapolis campus.

Interns at the farmers market 

As soon as she heard about the farmers market, Alex Crapser '12, who is majoring in dietetics, seized the opportunity to conduct an internship with Farm to Fairview at St. Kate's. Crapser is interning under Shaymala Ganesh, M.S., R.D., L.D., the director of the Dietetic Internship Program at UMMC/Fairview.

Through the internship, Crapser says she is forming valuable connections while doing the work she loves — bringing healthful foods to the Minneapolis community. Crapser also serves as an intern at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, so the experience with the farmers market will help to broaden her experience.

"It's a different scene out here," says Crapser. Regardless of where she is offering her time, she says the most important aspect of dietetics is education. "There are so many things you can do with healthy foods that are grown right in our own backyard."

The collaborative work with Fairview demonstrates St. Kate’s longstanding commitment to partnering with healthcare organizations, both through continued internships and clinicals by St. Kate’s students and through the weekly farmers market.

Mysee Chang '13 has also been on the farmers market scene at the Minneapolis campus. Through her role as the Mini-Farmers Market Intern at the Institute for Agriculture Trade Policy, Chang is using her bilingual talents to reach out to Hmong farmers and bridge language barriers at this and other local events. 

Sustainable models

Dahlem is working closely with Fairview and St. Kate’s students to make the weekly event a successful market.

The professor has a particularly strong interest in farmers markets, as she teaches a course in the Holistic Health Studies master's program called "Alternative Approaches to Nutrition." Part of the course focuses on local food and sustainability, in which students are required to visit a local farmers market. Dahlem challenges students to look at new ways to implement sustainable food systems through sustainable growing and distribution practices.

Dahlem explains that the current mainstream food system is not sustainable, and locally focused farmers markets instead offer a feasible alternative.

“Part of my commitment to farmers markets also reflects what I see as food justice,” she says. “By that, I mean to give people access to locally grown food —not just the corporate Cubs and Rainbows — and access to affordable and healthy nutrition and produce.”

Other opportunities in holistic health

Many ongoing educational opportunities are available at St. Kate's Henrietta Schmoll School of Health, including a continuing education course entitled "Enhancing Practice Through Holistic Nursing" — offered in partnership with the University of Minnesota Medical Center and the Fairview-University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital Integrative Health and Healing Program.

The six-week course, presented for the first time in fall 2010, will be offered again on the Minneapolis campus of St. Catherine University this fall. It gives registered nurses an opportunity to study holistic health through evening courses beginning on Sept. 26, 2011. For more information or to register, visit the website.

July 27, 2011 by Kayla Schaefer and Melissa Kaelin

See also: Faculty, Healthcare, Social Justice, Students