By Todd Travis
Franciscan Health Weight Loss Farmers Market
11 E Stop Eleven Road, Indianapolis, IN 46227
Begins June 1 and runs through September
Runs Wednesdays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Franciscan Health Weight Loss Center nurse and former ER nurse Amy Gillard didn’t realize she was starting a full-blown farmers market when she asked a few local vendors to bring in fruits and vegetables for some of her weight-loss patients. “We started it five years ago just as something small to expose some of our patients who may not otherwise have access or knowledge about getting fresh fruits and vegetables,” Gillard recalled. “Since then it’s really grown. We’re up to about 30-35 vendors this year with a variety of different foods and a bakery.”
For Gillard, the farmers market has become a labor of love as it has grown in popularity. What started out as a small side project is quickly turning into a well-oiled machine and a valuable resource for the community. “I would joke with my vendors when they would ask me all these technical farmers market questions – I’d just say, I’m just an ER nurse. I have no clue!'” As the market has taken shape over the years, Gillard has realized it has not only benefitted her clients but also the community around her. “Even though we started off with weight loss in mind, I’ve also seen how it has met a need for the local community and hospital employees that come and visit during their breaks,” she mentioned. Before the market begins, Gillard volunteers her time to mark off the parking lot for the vendors to come and set up.
Before becoming a weight-loss nurse, Gillard was working full time as an ER nurse. Prior to that, she had been working with Channel 13 for about 10 years. After having her third son, she decided to go back to school and get her nursing degree. “I’ve always had that urge to try and make a difference somehow. I knew the ER was a place where people really needed help,” she shared. She discovered the weight loss center after one of her co-workers began working there. She started off as a patient and did medical weight loss herself. Feeling a little burned out from the highly demanding ER work, she found out there was an opening at the weight loss center and took a job there. She still works weekends as an ER nurse but finds it much less stressful than doing that full time. “At the time, I thought I would only be taking a little break from the ER, but I’ve been working as a weight-loss nurse now for eight years,” Gillard noted.
Gillard was born in Shelby County and attended Triton Central Schools. Twenty years ago, she moved to Center Grove where she and her husband have raised their three boys. The youngest is now a senior at Center Grove High School. After having their third son, Gillard has just accepted that sports are going to be on her TV 24/7. Her husband jokingly used a sports metaphor when describing how life changed with their third child. He said, “We’ve now switched from man-to-man to zone defense,” she recalled. Gillard was no stranger to sports though, even before having three boys. At Channel 13 she helped bring in “The Reggie Miller Show” and the Jim Harbaugh show as well. “It was fun, but eventually, priorities just changed, and interest changed. I had my kids, and I felt the need to do more to help people. That’s when I went back to school for nursing.” Gillard explained.
Today, she finds a great amount of fulfillment helping people achieve their weight-loss and health goals. “Watching people be able to do little things that we sometimes take for granted is really rewarding. Patients will send updates on how weight loss has allowed them to do things they couldn’t do before, and that feels really good.” Gillard mentioned. The farmers market has just added another layer to the way Gillard is making a difference in peoples’ lives. For more information on the Franciscan Health Weight Loss Farmers market, visit: facebook.com/groups/291901119159813/about.
Greenwood Farmers Market
525 N Madison Ave., Greenwood, IN 46142
Runs Saturdays from 8 a.m.-noon
Greenwood Farmers Market focuses on local produce and local crafts. The market is kept intentionally small with only 40 spaces made available for vendors. All produce must be grown in Indiana. Located in the heart of downtown Greenwood, the market serves as an outlet for local farmers/vendors and as a grocery stop for shoppers. Produce, eggs, honey and meat are sold, and several craft vendors sell items such as soy candles, lip balm and soap.
Bargersville Main Street Farmers Market
24 N Main St., Bargersville, IN 46106
Begins June 1 and runs through Sept. 28
Runs Wednesdays from 5-8 p.m.
Bargersville Main Street Farmers Market is usually held in front of Town Hall in Bargersville. Two of the farmers markets this year will be held at Mallow Run. Vendors range from baked goods to produce, wine, candles, homemade soaps, honey, handmade jewelry and kettle corn. Around 50 vendors will be participating this year. Live music and food trucks are provided as they are available.
More info at: facebook.com/BargersvilleMainStreet.