Samantha Gallagher, 31, a Dominican University nutrition dietetics major, was at the Austin Town Hall City Market on Oct. 21. | Shanel Romain/Staff

We encountered Samantha Gallagher, a nutrition dietetics major at Dominican University in River Forest, at Austin Town Hall City Market, 5610 W. Lake St. Gallagher spoke about her experiences bringing awareness about healthy eating to the West Side.

On the healthy eating initiative

We’ve been working on this all semester with my teacher Dr. Sarah Jones and Michelle Scott. Michelle does a lot of work in the Austin community, which is why we’re specifically in Austin.

Michelle owns Thank God 4 Raw Vegan Treats and is regularly here with all her goodies. We’re here with her after doing our semester-long project where we tried to determine some gaps and figure out ways we can get people in Austin to have better nutrition and better access to healthy produce.

People here have to travel really far. There are a lot of issues they go through just to obtain food. And that’s not even factoring in the cost. So we really want to make sure people in this community understand that we want to bring healthier food to them.

On their mission

In our assessment, we discovered that there are really only one or two grocery stores in the area but a lot of fast food places. We want to get more nutrient dense food into people’s hands instead of just having the whole responsibility be on them. How are they going to obtain the food and consume it? That’s a big part that a lot of people don’t think about.

It’s really easy to go out there and say you need to eat more fruits and vegetables but if someone can’t get those fruits and vegetables, then that’s not a fair thing to say. So we’re here to try and give people other ways, such as Forty Acres Fresh Market’s affordable delivery service that also includes SNAP benefits. 

They have a box of produce as low as $10 that you can get from them. A lot of other places don’t offer anything that’s affordable, let alone allow people to use their benefits, so getting that information out there to people is going to be helpful