VDACS News Releases
August 2, 2018
Governor Northam and First Lady Kick-off Virginia Farmers’ Market Week
Virginia Farmers’ Market Week is August 5 - 11
Contact: Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686
On Friday, Governor Northam and First Lady of Virginia, Mrs. Pamela Northam will kick off the 2018 Virginia Farmers’ Market week with a visit to the OntheSquareVA Farmers’ Market near Capitol Square. Virginia Farmers’ Market week commemorates the dual significance of farmers’ markets by celebrating their ability to connect producers and consumers directly while serving as an economic engine for the Commonwealth.
“Farmers’ markets are an integral component of Virginia agriculture, the Commonwealth’s number one private industry,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “Farmers’ markets play an important role in communities throughout Virginia providing benefits for customers, farmers, the environment and for our local economies.”
In recent years, Virginia has seen a surge in the number of farmers’ markets with an increase of 184 percent, from 88 markets in 2006 to approximately 250 in 2018. Fueled by consumers seeking a connection to where their food is grown, farmers’ markets provide shoppers with a space to interact with some of the 44,800 farms and farm families located throughout the Commonwealth. Customers know that when they visit a farmers’ market, they are getting the freshest products that are made, grown or caught locally, right in their community.
The farmers’ markets across Virginia also play a significant role in Virginia’s diverse industry of agriculture which contributes more than $70 billion to the Commonwealth’s economy annually. Through a blend of farm, food and artisan businesses, markets allow producers to sell their products directly to customers, increasing their profits.
Another benefit of these localized markets is providing entry points for new farmers and food entrepreneurs, allowing them to start on a small scale and test new products. Providing these, and many other benefits, farmers’ markets continue to support rural and urban economies, foster healthy communities and support farmland preservation, conservation and education.
“Farmers’ markets are an important part of Virginia’s local food system,” Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Dr. Jewel Bronaugh said. “Markets provide unique venues for farmers and local business to connect with consumers, market new products and build a loyal and appreciative customer base.”
Farmers’ markets also expand healthy food access for Virginians participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Many markets across the state accept SNAP benefits and take part in nutrition incentive programs. SNAP match and incentive programs increase the value of a customer’s SNAP benefits at farmers markets and provide additional resources to spend on fruits and vegetables.
For more information and the locations of farmers’ markets throughout Virginia, visit the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services market listing athttp://vagrown.va-vdacs.com/.
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