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Classes, Events and Screenings Cancer Survivors Try Fresh Veggies


Lentils and beets can make a great dish together, Lenette Peterson has learned.

Peterson, a Lebanon cancer survivor, learned this through the That’s My Farmer nutrition class for cancer survivors, which recently concluded at Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital. Offered by hospital staff in conjunction with the Samaritan Cancer Program, the class aims to help cancer survivors eat healthy through in-class lessons and vouchers to local farmers markets.

The class is offered in Albany, Corvallis and Lebanon. Participants pay $20 for the six-session class and receive up to $150 in farmer’s market vouchers. It meets twice a week: in a classroom for a lesson and cooking demonstration, and at the local farmers market. Participants also received a copy of Farm-Fresh and Fast, a cookbook from the FairShare Community Supported Agriculture Coalition.

Peterson took the class in 2015, which was the first year Samaritan offered it in Lebanon. She found it so helpful that she took it for a second time this year.

“It’s so informative that I really want to help spread the word about it,” she said. “I’m trying to eat healthier, and this program definitely helps.”

In addition to the lentil-beet dish, Peterson discovered kale and turnips. “I’d never eaten turnips before, but they’re delicious when you put them in a stew,” she said.

Kelly Perry, another participant, also discovered kale through the class. “My husband even voluntarily put it in a salad after I asked him to try it,” she said. “We’ll try it in fajitas next.”

Perry loves the socializing aspect of the class, as well as the knowledge. “Conversing with fellow cancer survivors is wonderful, and I love getting fresh fruit and vegetables,” she said.

Athena Nofziger, hospital dietitian who leads the class, said the collaboration with the Lebanon Downtown Farmers Market is essential for the program’s success.
“The market has been extremely supportive of this program and the vendors have welcomed the participants,” Nofziger said. “It’s been very rewarding to be able to support our local growers in the community as well as our cancer survivors.”

Samaritan offers the class in Albany and Corvallis as well as Lebanon. Grants and funds from each hospital’s foundation help pay for the classes. 

For more information about That’s My Farmer, or any of the variety of support provided to cancer survivors, call the Samaritan Cancer Resource Centers in Albany at 541-812-5888 or Corvallis at 541-768-2171.