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http://blogs.buffalonews.com/refresh/2014/05/elmwood-business-owner-helps-roll-out-new-hula-hoop-craze.html">Jody L. Lomeo had big plans in 2009 when he became CEO of Erie County Medical Center, including reshaping the hospital and broadening its reach into the surrounding neighborhood – the 14215 ZIP code, where many residents struggle under the weight of poverty, a lack of transportation and want for healthy, affordable food.

Lomeo brought Rita Hubbard-Robinson aboard as part of his plan to forge more meaningful connections, including her role as leader of the Farmers’ Market at Grider, which opens next weekend for its fifth season. The market will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays through Oct. 10 across the street from the hospital.

“Our market is local, seasonal and fresh,” said the Queens native, who came to Buffalo in the 1980s to attend University at Buffalo Law School and never left. She is director of institutional advancement at ECMC.

How has the farmers’ market changed the way you eat?

I was introduced to new grains in our food demonstrations, like quinoa. I’ve learned a lot more over the last five years about reading labels, especially around sodium. I’ve also recognized that the more processed a food is, the higher in sodium it is.

What do you tend to take home from the farmers’ market?

Everything. I get my flowers every week. Fresh tomatoes, in season, squash, zucchini. I like to make shish kebabs in the summer. My leafy green vegetables. We had some fresh, local eggs last year. They go right away. There is a difference. I usually have my lunch at the market, as well.

– Scott Scanlon

On the Web: Read more about the market and Rita Hubbard-Robinson’s work at blogs.buffalonews.com/refresh