Metro Health Introduces Aquinas College Farmers’ Market
Each weekly open-air market will host a diverse array of vendors selling fresh fruits, vegetables, breads, plants, flowers and other locally grown and produced foods, as well as handcrafted artisan items.
Beginning on May 12, the Metro Health Aquinas College Farm Market will be open on Monday afternoons from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Browne Center Parking lot at 2001 Robinson Road on the Aquinas College Campus. The market will run through August 18.
The new Aquinas College Farm Market is a continuation of the growing relationship between Metro Health and Aquinas College. In addition to providing sports medicine coverage to all Aquinas athletes, Metro Health also provides general medical care to the college’s nearly 2,400 undergraduate and graduate students. A team consisting of a physician, physician assistant and medical assistant from Metro Health began staffing the Aquinas College Health Center in August of last year.
Now in its ninth year, the Metro Health Village Farmers Market is free and open to the community. It is held every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Metro Health Village from May 8 through Oct. 9 in Metro Health Village, which is located on the corner of Byron Center Avenue and M-6 in Wyoming.
In addition to vendor offerings, market visitors will still be able to participate in free community health screenings, including blood pressure checks and others, on many market days.
This year, the farmers’ market will host a series of special events throughout the summer, including:
- Kids’ Day on June 19, featuring a pint-size tractor pull and other fun games and activities for children.
- Christmas in July on July 24, when the market will open extra spaces for crafters and allow shoppers to get a headstart on the holiday shopping season.
- Health and Wellness Day on July 31, offering a broad array of information and screenings, including stroke prevention, heart health, body-fat assessments and more. Back for a third year, the Chef Cookoff invites local West Michigan chefs to a friendly cooking challenge that will have them using farm-fresh ingredients from the market in their creations. The event will feature free samples and copies of the chefs’ recipes, wrapping up with the Metro Way 5K in the evening.
The market will share updates on Facebook about fun things happening each week during the season.
Both markets will accept Project Fresh and Senior Project Fresh/Market Fresh Coupons. The coupons are part of a State of Michigan program that encourage eating healthy fruits and vegetables by offering coupons redeemable at farm markets to residents on food assistance. The markets will also offer Double Up Food Bucks to shoppers using their Michigan Bridge Card. Last year, food assistance program dollars accounted for more than $10,000 in healthy food sales at the Metro Health market.
Metro Health first hosted a farmers’ market in 2006 when the hospital was still located in the city of Grand Rapids. The market, which was then biweekly, began as an initiative to encourage employees to live healthier lifestyles. Since then, it has grown into a community-wide event that attracts hundreds of visitors each week.