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Shop for locally grown foods in South Park
HEALTH MATTERS

Shop for locally grown foods in South Park

Gardeners’ Market at South Park connects backyard growers to shoppers eager to buy fresh, local produce and other foods at affordable prices. The weekly market, Thursdays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., starts on June 10.

Early in the growing season, the market offers onions and leafy greens, such as lettuce, kale and beet greens. Tomatoes, corn and loads of other vegetables arrive later.

Montana farmers and backyard gardeners pay no fee to sell home-grown produce, eggs or other homemade goods. A short training is required before setting up.

Gardeners’ Market is sponsored by Healthy By Design, a coalition created by Billings Clinic, RiverStone Health and St. Vincent Healthcare to make the healthy choice the easy choice across Yellowstone County.

Using the most up-to-date guidance from RiverStone Health, the Unified Health Command and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we will work to sponsor a safe and healthy market. Most importantly, we ask anyone who is ill to stay home. Special markers will be set up throughout the event to support customer flow and prevent crowding. Masks are strongly encouraged for anyone who has not been vaccinated.

To assist the public in easy access to COVID-19 vaccination, the Unified Health Command will provide on-site vaccination clinics at the market on dates to be announced in the market newsletter and on our Facebook page. We encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated.

Last season, an average of 211 customers attended the market each week. Collectively, shoppers spent more than $24,000, which all went into the local economy. Incentive programs such as the WIC Farmers’ Market, Double SNAP Dollars, and Senior Farmers’ Market helped increase customer purchases and vendor profits.

The Gardeners’ Market has become a place where people from around the county come together to enjoy the outdoors. Healthy By Design is excited to bring more social engagement back this season.

The market will have live music twice a month and other special events, including:

  • June 17 – Outdoor photo booth.
  • June 24 – Free, walk-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic for people age 12 and older. Those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who can sign a vaccination consent form. Consent forms can also be found online at covid.riverstonehealth.org, printed out and completed in advance. A vaccination signup list will be available on June 17 at the information booth, but walk-ins will be accepted.
  • July 15 – Senior Day. Visit with community organizations that focus on seniors, live music with classic oldies and activities.
  • August 19 – Active Transportation Day. Walk, bike or ride the bus to the market for incentives.
  • September 9 Youth Day. The market will offer fun with a school-themed event and activities.

We want to see you at the market. However, if you are vulnerable because of health issues, please consider asking a friend or neighbor to shop for you.

Visit www.hbdyc.org/market where you can sign up for our weekly newsletter, learn more about the market and view a seasonal produce chart.

Eden Sowards, a prevention health specialist at RiverStone Health, can be reached at 651-6444 or market@hbdyc.org 

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