DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Jessie Davis of Dallas fills a bag with purple hull peas, tomatoes and cabbage. Her goal of eating fresh, healthy vegetables just got a little easier, and far more affordable, after making a visit to the Farm Stand at Baylor Scott & White’s Diabetes Health & Wellness Institute.
“They’re very, very, very reasonable,” says Davis of her finds, “and they’re good quality.”
The 65-year-old says she doesn’t buy all of her produce at the Farm Stand. But, at just $1 per bag of produce, she’s coming more often. She’s also learning how to avoid the chronic disease that strikes so many of her peers at the diabetes institute.
“Trying to eat healthy, eat right, the right portions, how to cook it… and eat healthy!”
It’s a goal that can be hard enough for even those with access—and can be nearly impossible for those without.
“It’s not just an issue of cost, it’s an issue of accessibility,” says Don Wesson, M.D., M.B.A. “The area that we’re in is a so called ‘food desert’.” Dr. Wesson is the Institute’s president. “We’re not waiting for that grocery store to come, we’re providing it here at a cost our folks can afford.”
The City of Dallas has already committed millions to help lure a major grocer to an underserved area in South Dallas. But, until that happens, supporters say the ‘pop-up’ markets meet a critical need. Right now, the DHWI operates out of the Juanita Craft Recreation Center, 4500 Spring Avenue in Dallas. Other Farm Stand markets operate on various days in cooperation with local churches: St. Paul Baptist on Pear St., Beth Eden Baptist Church on Red Bird Lane, and Greater Bethlehem Baptist Church on Forney Road.
“We can’t wait because the health of our community demands that we be proactive,” says Dr. Wesson.
According to Dr. Wesson, the Diabetes Health & Wellness Institute represents a significant investment on Baylor Scott & White’s part to shift from providing what he calls ‘sick care’ to empowering communities to prevent chronic illnesses. And prevention, he says, is far less costly than poor health.
“We’ve lost the productivity they give our community. We’ve lost the taxes they pay—so it’s a double, triple whammy when we lose the health of our community. The individuals pay. The country pays.”
So far, Davis says her healthy habits are paying off. “It’s expensive, but think about your health!”
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