Preston Maring, MD

Ob-Gyn, East Bay Area

Friday Fresh Farmers’ Market

“It’s a joy to me to have been able to do something that makes people feel good about coming to work at the medical center.”

Before there was Thrive, there was the Friday Fresh Farmers’ Market in Oakland. Noticing a group of vendors selling jewelry in the hospital lobby, Dr. Maring wondered what the medical center could offer that would be more consistent with the program’s mission.

The answer came to him, and less than a year later, in May 2003, the Farmers’ Market was born. The outdoor market includes up to eight purveyors of organic fruits, vegetables and breads, and attracts an average of 500 shoppers weekly — employees, patients and members of the community.

“I like having people come up to me in the medical center and tell me their personal stories about the market,” he relates. “One of our staff told me how thrilled he was that he had made a salad; another told me that since we started the market she had lost 20 pounds and her son was finally eating breakfast, including fresh fruit.

Dr. Maring also helped establish markets at eight facilities in Northern California and two in Hawaii, with more in the planning stages. His “recipe of the week” featuring seasonal produce is distributed via e-mail and the recipes are archived on the Thrive website. Dr. Maring also serves on KP’s National Food Policy Workgroup and hopes, over time, to incorporate locally grown, organic produce into the meal services for patients and staff in our medical centers.