Milwaukee VA Medical Center
Milwaukee VA Farmers Market set to open for season
Local produce and products will be the primary offerings when the first Milwaukee VA Farmers Market of the season opens on Friday.
The market will be held every other Friday beginning June 14 through Sept. 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside the south entrance on the National Ave. side of the Milwaukee VA Medical Center.
“The Farmers Market at the Milwaukee VA is a means for us to work with people that are coming into the hospital and for the community to get involved,” said Kayleen Weister, deputy food service program manager at the Milwaukee VA and one of the organizers of the market.
“We’re trying to bring health and nutrition to our employees and we thought what better way to incorporate all who visit the hospital by offering a farmer’s market with fresh produce, maybe some snacks, and some local products that the community is making,” Weister said.
The Farmers Market is scheduled to include organic produce, eggs, honey, kettle corn and coffee beans, with opportunities for additional vendors over the course of the season.
Among the goals of the market are promotion of the Whole Health program and Employee Wellness, along with social engagement and support of local businesses.
“The components of Whole Health include food and drink, nourishing and refueling our body,” said Ericka Napoli, an occupational therapist at the Milwaukee VA. “Along with that, it incorporates community. And, I feel like having a Farmers Market here gives the Veterans and employees opportunities to access fresh produce, while also supporting local farmers and small businesses in our community.”
“It really brings the community together,” said Napoli, another of the market organizers. “I think what’s great with this is that we have a couple vendors who are Veterans. So, we’re supporting Veterans who, this is their business and livelihood.”
One of the vendors is Sam Floyd, a Marine Veteran and coffee roaster from Campbellsport, Wisconsin, who donates 10 percent of every sale from Operation Coffee to Veterans’ suicide prevention.
In addition to the nutrition segment of Whole Health, Weister said the Farmers Market also is geared toward Employee Wellness.
“We try to represent the different areas of wellness, one of those being physical wellness,” she said. “And physical wellness includes not just exercise and physical movement, but also nutrition.”
“We also try to promote social and emotional wellness. We feel a Farmer’s Market really promotes those areas of wellness.
Weister said the market also provides an opportunity for Veterans who might not otherwise get to other markets in the area, or for those who find a weekday more convenient.
“We also thought it would be a nice opportunity for staff that maybe want to spend more time with their families on the weekends to go to the Farmers Market while they’re at work, so that they can pick up some fresh produce, maybe a fresh bag of coffee or some local honey, and then not have to go when the weekend rolls around.”
The Milwaukee VA Farmers Market is open to the public.