Kaiser Permanente runs farmers markets

Looked at one way, it makes perfect sense: Sure, Kaiser isn't in the farming or retail businesses, but it is in the business of promoting good health. That, at least, is why Kaiser executives decided to create a series of farmers markets onsite. Not only are the farmers markets open to patients, community members and staffers, 23 Kaiser hospitals use the fruits and vegetables in their kitchens.

The first farmers market opened six years ago. Now, KP has 30 farmers markets at facilities in four states. In Los Angeles, Kaiser worked with Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles to open the Watts Healthy Farmers' Market, which also provides health screenings, nutrition education and other programs.

According to Kaiser officials, the farmers markets seem to be having at least some influence on patients' thinking. For example, patients who might have brought doctors soap or ceramics as presents might bring a basket of blueberries or ears of corn, instead.

To learn more about Kaiser's program:
- read this Los Angeles Times piece