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Cunz Hall showcases local foods with Summer Market Bag program

Jennifer Jung / Lantern reporter

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Every week students, staff and faculty can explore the fresh seasonal flavors of Ohio-grown foods and learn about the farmers and food artisans behind them by getting one market bag. 

Cunz Hall, the future home of the College of Public Health, has become a pick-up location for local foods from small scale farmers throughout central Ohio. The College of Public Health is partnering with The Greener Grocer and Local Matters to be a local establishment supporting healthy Ohio-grown foods.

It joins a select group of local establishments, such as COSI, Cardinal Health, Nationwide and United Way that support this program. The Ohio State University Foundation, located at 1480 W. Lane Ave., is the only other campus pick-up location. 

Stanley Lemeshow, dean of the College of Public Health, said nutritional education is a big part of public health. 

“Many diseases are caused because people eat poorly,” Lemeshow said. “We feel strongly that everybody needs to eat healthfully. It is a wonderful program to people who live in poor communities and do not have access to get fruits and vegetables.” 

The Greener Grocer, located at 59 Spruce St. in the North Market, offers sustainable products from local small farms. It partners with Local Matters, a nonprofit organization based in central Ohio, which works to create a healthy community through local foods.  

Through Nov. 15, students, staff and faculty can get organic local foods when they subscribe The Greener Grocer’s summer market bag through The Greener Grocer website. After participants select the week they would like to pick up their first bag and choose the College of Public Health at OSU as their preferred pick-up location when signing up for the program, they can pick up their bags at Cunz Hall’s second floor break room every Tuesday between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. 

The cost is $22 per week for a medium bag, which serves one to two people, and $32 per week for a large bag, which serves three to four people. 

Subscribers pay their payments directly to The Greener Grocer via credit card at one time or every six weeks over 24 weeks. Some of the proceeds from this program help fund Local Matters’ community programs, which aims to strengthen Ohio’s food system. 

The summer market bag includes local fruits, vegetables, honey, grains and cheese. Vegan and gluten-free options are available. 

“What’s in the bag changes every week depending on what’s being harvested at that time,” said Christine O’Malley, executive director of external relations and advancement for the College of Public Health. 

O’Malley said there are three reasons why she signed up for the summer market bag subscription: convenience, supporting local farmers and fresh food. 

“I’ve got kids at home, and my husband and I are always looking for healthy alternatives. I think there will be a lot of healthy foods that I don’t ordinarily eat,” O’Malley said. 

Jon Henry, a surgery resident at OSU’s Wexner Medical Center, said his wife signed up because she likes local homegrown vegetables and wants to support the local community. 

“My wife and I want to be healthier without pesticides,” Henry said. 

Renee Watts, the facilities manager for the College of Public Health, said she signed up for the program to support the whole organic farming plant. 

“I believe that we should actually support our mission, which is public health aspect of trying to find sustainable good food for everybody,” Watts said. “I am also going to learn more about vegetables that I would not normally buy in the grocery store, such as bok choy for this week.”

About 17 people signed up so far, and one-third of the subscribers are faculty members in the College of Public Health.

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