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Franciscan fires up farmers market for the summer

Pepper baskets at the Franciscan Alliance farmers market (Photo by Amy Gillard)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — One of of central Indiana’s largest health care systems is expanding its focus on healthy food.

Franciscan Alliance says Wednesday, June 5 will mark the reopening of its yearly farmers market at the network’s Weight Loss Center.

Market hours will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Wednesday through September at 5230 E. Stop 11 Rd. That’s across the street from Franciscan Health hospital.

Franciscan Alliance farmers market, 5230 E. Stop 11 Road. Opens for the season June 5, 2024. (Photo by Amy Gillard)

The effort dates back to 2016, when Franciscan’s Bariatric Nurse Coordinator, Amy Gillard, founded the market. The initial goal was to help further motivate and encourage patients through weight loss and maintenance while supporting them with smart food choices.

“Our patients have the opportunity to explore and purchase healthy foods to assist in their weight loss,” Gillard said. “Eating healthier benefits both our patients and staff and the entire community.”

Peppers and berries at the Franciscan Alliance farmers market (Photo by Amy Gillard)

Gillard says what started with seven sellers has now grown to nearly 50 from all over the state.

“We are extremely fortunate to have such amazing vendors. Our patients and the community are incredibly grateful to have the market and we are proud to be able to offer it.”

While Franciscan patient care is still a main focus, Gillard says the market is very much open to all.

“The farmers market offers a great alternative to traditional grocery stores and is conveniently located for our patients and the community,” said Gillard.

Veggies at the Franciscan Alliance farmers market (Photo by Amy Gillard)

Fruits and vegetables are still at the heart of the market, but Franciscan says it’s now a full-service operation, features baked goods, arts and crafts, coffee, fresh flowers and soaps, too.

The Franciscan effort is one of several programs from the area’s major health systems. In recent weeks we have also covered Community Health’s large-scale food growing operation in Anderson and the expansion of IU Health’s nutrition hub food locker program.