LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Watts Healthy Farmers’ Market is party ready. Decked out with row upon row of beautiful, fresh fruit and bushels of vegetables, the Market will kick off its two-year anniversary celebration today when Kaiser Permanente presents an $80,000 grant to the Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA). The Watts Healthy Farmers’ Market is operated by SEE-LA as one of its nonprofit community development activities. With today’s presentation, Kaiser Permanente has now provided more than $286,000 in grants to SEE-LA since 2007 for programs that improve access to healthy food choices.
“This market is another example of Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to improving the health of the communities we serve,” said Diana Bontá, RN, DrPH, vice president, public affairs, Kaiser Permanente Southern California region. “We are proud to be a part of this collaborative effort to create and sustain a community gathering place that helps families thrive.” The 2009 grant will also fund a South Los Angeles Farmers' Market Food & Nutrition Education Project with plans to provide cooking and nutrition classes in Leimert Park and in South Los Angeles.
The celebration, free to the public, takes place during the weekly Saturday market, which is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Ted Watkins Memorial Park, 103rd Street and Central Avenue. A highlight of the celebration is a healthy-cooking demonstration by Kaiser Permanente’s Dr. Preston Maring, who founded one of the country’s first-ever hospital-based farmers markets at the Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center. Dr. Maring will also sign and give away copies of his cookbook, "Eating Well in Season." Other activities include a petting zoo for kids; live music including Mariachi and Yo Voice; face painting by Auntie Joyce; free carrot cake; health and nutrition information with free blood pressure and cholesterol testing; and, of course, fresh market produce from local farmers.
"The true value of the market is seeing community families making real changes in their food choices each week,” states Joanne A. Robinson, M.Ed, executive director for the Watts Counseling & Learning Center. “I’m proud that Kaiser Permanente and the other collaborators have had a direct role in supporting this market through its second year and beyond."
In addition to SEE-LA and Kaiser Permanente, the collaborative includes Children’s Hospital L.A./USC Keck School of Medicine; the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services; Los Angeles County Department of Public Health; Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation; Watts Healthcare Corporation; Los Angeles Youth Opportunity Movement; and Champions for Change.
WIC (Women, Infant, and Children) participants can redeem farmers’ market vouchers to purchase fresh, unprepared fruits, vegetables, and herbs. For details, call (323) 463-3171 or www.farmernet.com. Since its opening, the Watts Healthy Farmers Market has redeemed over $18,000 in WIC-Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) checks and $6,400 in food stamp/electronic benefit transfer (EBT) checks.
For more than 40 years, the Watts Counseling & Learning Center has offered free or low-cost counseling, summer camps, and preschool for families living in the greater Watts area. The families need not be members of Kaiser Permanente to utilize the Center’s services. For details about all the Center’s services, call (323) 564-7911.
Kaiser Permanente is shaping the future of health care. We are America’s leading health care provider and not-for-profit health plan. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 3.3 million members in Southern California. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. In 2008, Kaiser Permanente directed nearly $436 million in the Southern California region to support community benefit programs and services through research, community-based health partnerships, and direct health coverage for low-income families and individuals, in collaboration with community medical centers, health departments, and public hospitals. For more information, go to www.kp.org/newscenter.