“I want my grandchildren to grow up and already know about healthy eating and living so they don’t have to go through the struggles I’m going through.” — Marlo thomas-grubbs
Marlo Thomas-Grubbs loves to step outside her door and shop for all her fresh produce at the Veggie Park Farmers Market. The market has been a wealth of information for Marlo. Here, she has learned about the nutritional value of fresh fruits and vegetables and different ways of preparing fresh foods. In fact, the market has introduced her to her favorite new vegetable: zucchini. “I was basically just a lettuce and tomatoes [person] before coming here,” she says, “Now I eat zucchini and different types of squash.”
Since Marlo started caring for her two young grandchildren, SNAP has been a huge help to the family. With the Georgia Fresh For Less program, Marlo is able to fill her bags with zucchini that are much more affordable for her than those at a normal grocery store. Marlo’s love for zucchini has even been passed down to her grandchildren. With just a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, zucchini roasted in the oven serves as a “good, healthy snack instead of a bag of Ruffles.” As Marlo states with a smile, “They’ll have vegetables, and I’ll sneak it in looking like a snack.”
Like almost 75 million people in the United States, Marlo is trying to manage her hypertension while also taking care of her grandchildren and managing everything else in her life. “It slows you down,” Marlo says, “You try to watch what you eat but it’s cheaper to eat fast food.” According to the USDA, 23% of Augusta’s residents are food insecure, and in Marlo’s neighborhood, grocery stores are not readily accessible to many folks. With the education she’s received from farmers and other customers at the market, though, Marlo is realizing that fast food does not have to be the only option for herself and her family. “It may take a little time, but I’ve learned how to prepare my food in advance so all I gotta do is grab it and go,” she points out. With these lifestyle changes, Marlo has noticed that her blood pressure has gone down, and she hopes that it will only continue to decrease over time.
A next step for Marlo would be to have her own garden, where she could learn how to plant and grow the vegetables she likes to eat on her own. As a long time resident of Augusta, she is grateful to have the farmers market in her community and for the impact it has had on her health and the health of her family. “I want my grandchildren to grow up and already know about this healthy eating and living so they don’t have to go through the struggles I’m going through,” Marlo emphasizes. With the market at her doorstep and Augusta’s burgeoning food initiatives, the future looks bright for Marlo, her family, and the community.