Searching for healthy answers

This is a close-up of vegetables and fruits.
This is a close-up of vegetables and fruits.

One of the more surprising bits of information we’ve received recently is the news that despite living in one of the foremost agricultural areas of the country, Chatham-Kent residents are among the lowest in consuming vegetables and fruits.

Chatham Mazda from Chatham Voice on Vimeo.

Combine that with our above average rates of cardiovascular disease, stroke, COPD, diabetes to name a few, and it’s difficult not to draw at least some parallels between poor diet and poor health.

The (so far) unanswerable question, is why?

Is it access to fresh food? Is it affordability? Is it ignorance? Laziness?

One idea which is floated whenever the subjects of what we grow and what we eat are discussed, is a farmers’ market.

We have scores of well-intentioned farmers’ markets placed throughout the downtown core over the years. Most began well and then floundered.

Part of the common knowledge on the subject is that a downtown market has never had an established, physical location. There are certainly some available sites.

Perhaps the first step would be to canvass growers to see what they want. The only way to have even a seasonal market will be to attract vendors. If interest isn’t found there, the best intentions of anyone else are irrelevant.

Proponents need to realize that vendors aren’t coming for the atmosphere; they have to be convinced there’s a market for their products.

If interest is there, the next step will be at least a one-season-long commitment. There is no point holding a market to attract customers only to find that products will be available on a hit-and-miss basis.

It’s difficult to believe that somewhere in the labyrinth of government programs there doesn’t exist some form of grant or funding which could help the project get off the ground for at least one year.

If we can get that far, perhaps we can begin to make adjustments to the statistics of which no community should be proud.


  1. Jim, one aspect needed to get people to eat more vegetables and fruits is to make them prominent in every local event. That may need to include demonstrating preparation. Things that smell and look appetizing are much more likely to be tasted. Currently very generous gifts of produce are sometimes given to those who need the food but have no idea how to prepare it. I believe the element of the community who are most likely to use a market are probably already fruit and vegetable eaters. Access to the growers would improve the quality they receive and hopefully benefit the producers but not likely increase the number of consumers by much. Vendors would do better to support children's programs to develop fruit and vegetable eaters who may help to change the habits of their parents.

    • Good points, Karen, thanks.
      Barbecuing is so popular at this time of the year and too few people think to do anything other than meat and maybe potatoes on it.
      But grilled vegetables are delicious and the aromas can be downright intoxicating. But for kids, getting raw fruits and veggies into their lunches, and getting them to eat them, could be the route to life-long better eating habits.
      No easy fix.

  2. Grocery stores rarely stock local produce (that's a shame) and when they do, it's priced higher than the imported produce (another shame). This makes it difficult for someone on a strict budget to enjoy the good foods.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here