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Cleveland Clinic in the Community, Farmers’ Markets & Social Media

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Cleveland Clinic Farmers’ Market in Cleveland, Ohio, and speaking with Elizabeth Fiordalis, Director of Community Outreach, about how the Cleveland Clinic is bringing the message and action for healthy living to its community.

America has a problem with obesity and the problem can be directly attributed to the lack of knowledge about healthy food and its preparation, according to Chef Jamie Oliver in his award-winning TED talk and anti-obesity project.  In this shocking video, American schoolchildren are unable to identify basic fruits and vegetables.  One child identified a tomato as a potato; many others were hard-pressed to recognize cauliflower.

Fiordalis echoes Oliver’s sentiments and stresses the importance of educating the community, “It’s one thing to say ‘eat fresh fruits and vegetables.’ It’s so much better if you can take them to the market, teach them how to shop, to choose healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables and then go home and prepare them.”

The Cleveland Clinic main campus farmers’ market attracts hundreds of visitors every week on Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and dozens of school groups will learn about healthy eating throughout the summer.  You can view a video tour of the Cleveland Clinic Farmers’ Market, and, if you visit in person, the Clinic will even provide free parking for an hour.

Fiordalis says getting the message out to the community and neighborhoods is very important for its healthcare communications and extends beyond traditional media to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, “We’re finding that social media and getting into our community are very intertwined.” This is the third season for the main campus market and the great response has prompted the Cleveland Clinic to host farmers’ markets at other regional hospitals and health centers with more to come.  What a delicious idea!

The Cleveland Clinic Farmers’ Market is part of several North Union Farmers’ Markets in Northeast Ohio founded on the vision of Donita Anderson.  The first market opened in Shaker Square in 1995.

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