Newsmakers Making A Difference: West Town Health Market

Bernie Tafoya
September 25, 2018 - 7:20 am

Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center/Facebook

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- It looks like a farmer’s market, and it is, but at Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center in West Town, it’s called a “health market.”  Spokesman Jim O’Connell said it “kind of shows the ‘food as medicine’ model will work.”

Coralee Montes helps run the “Health Market” and said it’s very affordable.

“A lot cheaper than your big box stores,” she said.

Clinical and Nutrition Manager Nick Groch said area residents can activate $15 coupons by attending a cooking demonstration, “to try to further incentivize people and say, ‘hey, look…eating healthier is easy, it tastes good.'”

Link card users can get $45 in produce for $15 in Link.

“We have quite a few success stories where people will tell us at the market information station, 'Hey, through this market I was able to lose 15-20 pounds because I can eat healthier,'” Groch said.

Urban farmer and market vendor Francesa Reinish runs the Earnest Earth Farm at 3502 W. Fulton Blvd. She grows fruits, vegetables and flowers on a quarter acre and sells them at the hospital Health Market.  She also said she gets to practice using her Spanish while there.

“A lot of people ask what certain things are. They’re like, 'what’s that? how do you cook it?' Or they tell a story about remembering their grandparents growing that and they give us recipe suggestions and we give them recipe suggestions,” she said.

Coralee Montes said there’s an added benefit to the Health Market. She said consumers “would not normally come out on a Thursday afternoon, but because the market is here, now they come out and now they’ve met friends and they congregate and they socialize.”

Spokesman Jim O’Connell said Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center has received a $395,000 federal Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Grant, the only hospital in the country to receive such an award.

The “Health Market” at Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center, a newsmaker making a difference.

As WBBM celebrates its 50th anniversary as Newsradio, this year we’ll be honoring 50 Newsmakers making a difference in the community.  Listen for reports each Tuesday.

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