For the past two summers, the parking lot at the Corporate Office Building (COB) in Columbus, Ind. has gotten a lot busier and a whole lot healthier.
That’s because once a week a farmer’s market has been operating from the lot, offering employees easy access to fresh produce. This June will mark the third year for the market outside the COB, which holds more than 1,000 employees. Several other Cummins office buildings are nearby.
Opened as a way for employees to not only support their local community but also to improve their health and well being, the market also promotes Cummins’ commitment to a sustainable way of life.
Martha Whiteman is the Health Improvement Strategy Director who, with Laurie Counsel, Global Environmental Engagement Director, developed the plan for the market.
“The Farmer’s Market was a collaboration of our environmental work and our health improvement efforts for the Cummins population. This is one of several projects where we’ve found that what’s good for the environment is also good for you,” Whiteman said.
Employees agree. Attendance doubled in the second year. Accepting credit cards and weekly cooking demonstrations helped increase interest.
Having the market in the COB parking lot provided a “convenient way for employees to shop at the end of the day and take home nutritious foods for their families,” Whiteman said.
Customers have been able to choose from standard fresh produce items such as tomatoes, cucumbers, corn and peaches and more unusual items like spaghetti squash and fresh okra.
Another positive: buying straight from the farmers. This keeps costs low and cuts down the supply chain. A shortened supply chain means a reduction in the amount of fossil fuel needed for transportation, thus, leaving a smaller carbon footprint.
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