September 15, 2011
OPPD brings a new kind of energy to one-day farmers market
Energy Plaza has always been an appropriate name for the headquarters of the Omaha Public Power District. Home to 650 employees, the downtown location is the hub for the customer-owned utility that serves nearly 350,000 people in southeast Nebraska.
A recent event highlighted how healthy food choices can have a positive impact on individual energy levels. On a July day this summer when the temperature outside reached a steamy 100 degrees, OPPD employees and local producers were keeping it cool inside the Energy Plaza atrium at a one-day farmers’ market.
The event was conceived by Terri Kelly, division secretary of Environmental and Regulatory Affairs, as a mentoring project and supported by members of the OPPD wellness team.
“I wanted to educate employees about the local resources available for healthy, nutritious food,” Kelly says. “We have a lot of people who are sitting at their desks all day. That makes it even more important to make healthy meal choices. This was a way to showcase that to our employees, while making it fun at the same time.”
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., growers from the Nebraska Food Co-op sold a variety of food — from organic vegetables, homemade cheese and raw honey to beef, chicken and wild-caught fish. Employees could pick up ingredients on their shopping list, or even have a meal custom-prepared in front of their eyes.
In conjunction with the market, OPPD’s cafeteria vendor Treat America held a cooking demo that featured a tasty Tunisian stir-fry. Employees chose the fresh vegetables and meat or fish they wanted in their entrée and watched it cooked on the spot.
Kelly says the in-house market generated lots of positive feedback from employees. There are plans to bring back the event again.
“Being able to bring healthy food on site fit perfectly with what we were trying to do and the city is trying to do,” adds Angela Siebert, OPPD wellness specialist. “Partners for a Healthy Community has been a perfect fit for us to move forward with our own initiatives.”