Senator Jay Costa to visit East Liberty Farmers Market with Adagio Health CEO BJ Leber on Monday, August 12, 2019 at 4:00 p.m.
Pittsburgh, Pa − August 8, 2019 − Introducing farm fresh produce to more local communities is the driving force behind a recent partnership between Adagio Health and Senator Jay Costa of Pennsylvania’s 43rd District. The Pennsylvania Senator and the healthcare organization teamed up as part of a community-wide education and nutrition effort meant to engage and inform local consumers.
“Every summer, Adagio Health employees from our Power Up nutrition team are stationed at local Farmers Markets—providing food demonstrations, handing out recipe cards, and answering questions about how to prepare local produce,” said Adagio Health President and CEO, BJ Leber. “This year, partnering with Senator Jay Costa has allowed us to expand our outreach efforts, specifically in the 43rd District. With his support, we’ve been able to provide nutrition education and support in more communities to more consumers.”
Making sure local residents have access to fresh, healthy foods along with understanding how better nutrition can improve their lives is important to Senator Costa.
“Access and affordability of healthy food is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle,” said Senator Costa. “Local farmers markets provide that in so many communities in our area, and I’m thrilled to partner with Adagio Health this summer to help folks in the 43rd district get more fruits and veggies.”
In many communities, Farmers Markets offer access to fresh produce that may otherwise be very limited, especially when there isn’t a grocery store nearby. Access is critical, according to Power Up Program Manager Britney Zwergel, but she also says that when it comes to good nutrition, the team wants to educate and inspire.
“If you tell someone they should eat broccoli, sure, they might know that broccoli would probably be good for them,” said Zwergel. “But if they don’t have access to broccoli, if they don’t live near a grocery store that sells produce or if they don’t have transportation to a grocery store – they can’t buy broccoli so they’re not going to eat it. And if they do manage to obtain it, if they don’t have the skills or understanding of how to cook it or how to prepare it – they’re once again not going to eat broccoli. Our goal is to provide the skills and education for broccoli and beyond. We want to keep it simple, and fun, and easily accessible.”
And one of the biggest success stories so far this summer? Beets!
“At the Squirrel Hill Farmers Market, one of the local farmers across from our booth was selling beets. Well, we happened to be making and providing samples of beet hummus that day. He later told us he’s never sold so many beets in one day!” said Ms. Zwergel. “With our demonstration, we were able to help a local farmer increase his sales, which is great, and were able to inspire customers at the market to try something new and healthy.”
Other popular offerings by the Adagio Health Power Up team this summer: water infused with everything from cucumber to strawberries to blueberries … and simple summer fare like strawberry salsa.
“I am proud of our Power Up team and so grateful to Senator Costa for his support of our efforts,” said Ms. Leber. “Many people know Adagio Health as a provider of reproductive healthcare services for women and men in this region, but may not realize that nutrition education is also a really big part of what we do. It’s part of our approach to better health and wellness from a whole-body perspective. We are so glad to have had the opportunity to work with more local communities thanks to Senator Costa. And summer’s not over yet! See you at your local Farmers Market.”
Adagio Health’s Power Up program is a SNAP-Education program funded by the USDA. It is designed to encourage students (Preschool through 12th grade), adults, seniors and communities to choose healthier foods and live active lifestyles.
About Adagio Health – Since 1971, Adagio Health has provided health and wellness services throughout 23 counties in western Pennsylvania, and now, seven counties in West Virginia. Services include family planning and reproductive healthcare for women and men, breast and cervical cancer screening, community education and nutrition services. Most of the nearly 110,000 patients receiving services are women who are uninsured, underinsured or need access to confidential reproductive health and family planning services. These services are provided through funding from foundations, the State and Federal government and in partnership with a variety of local organizations and other funders.
About Senator Jay Costa – Senator Costa has dedicated his life to public service, and making sure state government is used as a force for good – protecting and providing opportunities for those who need it most. Throughout his career, Senator Costa has been a strong, effective promoter of education. Seeking additional funding for K-12, higher education and pre-school, he is recognized as one of the state’s leaders in education.
Recognizing his accomplishments, Senator Costa was elected Leader by his colleagues in 2010.
Beyond his legislative work, Senator Costa has served on the board of trustees of the University of Pittsburgh, is treasurer of the Community College of Allegheny County board. He serves on boards including: the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Senator John Heinz History Center, 3 Rivers Wet Weather, Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative, CLO, Forest Hills Community Development Corporation and a life trustee of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.