COVID-19 and Virginia’s Farmers Markets2020-12-10T23:17:49+00:00

COVID-19
and Virginia’s Farmers Markets

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Current COVID-19 Restrictions for Farmers Markets2021-04-18T20:25:57+00:00

Updated March 23, 2021 – Farmers’ markets may continue to operate, provided such businesses comply with the Guidelines for All Business Sectors and the sector-specific guidelines for farmers’ markets incorporated by reference herein. Such guidance includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements:
a. Employees and patrons must maintain at least six feet of physical distance between individuals who are not Family members, as defined below in section I, subsection D, paragraph 2, at all times. Employees and vendors must, where possible, configure operations to avoid congestion or congregation points.
b. Employees and vendors must wear masks over their nose and mouth while working at their place of employment. Exceptions noted in section II do not apply.
c. Employees and vendors must routinely clean and disinfect frequently-contacted surfaces during operation.
d. Patrons must wear masks over their nose and mouth according to section II.
e. Farmers’ markets must promote frequent and thorough hand washing, including by providing employees, customers, visitors, the general public, and other persons entering into the place of employment with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, provide hand sanitizers.
f. If any such business cannot adhere to these requirements, it must close.

Fourth Amended Executive Order 72

Updated January 12, 2021 — From Peri Pearson of the Virginia Department of Health about Executive Order 72 — “The Executive Order takes precedence over the Forward Virginia Guidelines. Face coverings are required for both employees and patrons whether indoors or outdoors.”

 

Updated December 11, 2020 — Yesterday Governor Ralph Northam announced new, targeted measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 as new cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in all areas of the Commonwealth. The order does not appear to add new restrictions to farmers markets.

 

Governor’s New Mitigation Measures Do Not Appear to Impose New Restrictions on Farmers Markets

December 11, 2020 — Yesterday Governor Ralph Northam announced new, targeted measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 as new cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in all areas of the Commonwealth.

Executive Order Seventy-Two directs Virginians to stay at home between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., implements a universal mask requirement, and lowers the limit on social gatherings from 25 people to 10 people. The order will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, December 14 and remain in place through January 31, 2021, unless rescinded or amended.

The order does not appear to add new restrictions to farmers markets.

VAFMA’s Executive Director, Dr. Kim Hutchinson, contacted Commissioner of Agriculture, Dr. Jewel Bronaugh to ask how the new guidelines impacted farmers markets. The Commissioner responded that there do not appear to be new guidelines that would significantly impact farmers markets. If there is anything she needs to follow-up with us about, she will be sure to do so.

Below is the section pertaining to farmers markets. Read the details included in the full text of the Executive Order. Section III (page 16) of this document includes the particulars about face coverings.

Number Seventy-Two (2020) And Order of Public Health Emergency Nine Common Sense Surge Restrictions Certain Temporary Restrictions Due To Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Farmers’ Markets 
Farmers’ markets may continue to operate, provided such businesses comply with the Guidelines for All Business Sectors and the sector-specific guidelines for farmers’ markets incorporated by reference herein. Such guidance includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements:

a. Employees and patrons must maintain at least six feet of physical distancing between individuals who are not Family members, as defined below, at all times. Employees and vendors must, where possible, configure operations to avoid congestion or congregation points.
b. Employees and vendors must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth while working at their place of employment.
c. Employees and vendors must routinely clean and disinfect frequently-contacted surfaces during operation.
d. Patrons must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth according to Section III. (Page 16 of EO #72 document)
e. Farmers’ markets must promote frequent and thorough hand washing, including by providing employees, customers, visitors, the general public, and other persons entering into the place of employment with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, provide hand sanitizers.
f. If any such business cannot adhere to these requirements, it must close.

Guidelines for All Business Sectors (November 13, 2020)

Executive Order 72 (2020) and Order of Public Health Emergency Nine

News Release: Governor Northam Announces New Mitigation Measures to Slow COVID-19 Spread

Online Ordering Options for Farm Sales Resource2021-03-05T20:49:51+00:00

Dr. Theresa Nartea of Virginia Cooperative Extension created a resource summarizing “Online Ordering Options for Farm Sales during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic

Within this publication, several online options are discussed which farmers may consider. The online ordering options covered in this publication are as follows: 1) Communicating via emails; 2) Using Google Forms; 3) Developing a personal webpage with web store; and 4) Electronic commerce (E-commerce) subscription service platforms. The online ordering option selected by an individual depends on the level of technology skills needed, time availability, economic cost and ease of use by both farmer and customers.

 

March 2, 2021: Infectious Disease Training for Farmers Markets2021-02-16T01:47:00+00:00

Farmers markets and farms (considered medium risk employers) are now required by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry to train their employees (paid and unpaid) on the hazards and characteristics of the SARSCoV-2 virus and COVID-19 disease, safe and healthy work practices, personal protective equipment and other infectious disease topics.

Infectious disease plans are also required for Medium Risk Employers with 11 or more employees (paid and unpaid).

To assist farmers markets in complying with these mandates, VAFMA is offering a training class that walks attendees through the steps of compliance. Harrisonburg City COVID-19 Response Coordinator, Paul Helmuth, will guide attendees through the requirements and how they apply to farmers markets.

Through this class, participants will receive:

— A certificate of completion

— An infectious disease plan template along with training on how to customize it to fit your business

— Education on and digital materials for training your employees

— A link to a recording of the training

Registration and More Details

 

 

Online Farmers Market Sales Platforms: A VAFMA Resource Roundup2021-02-25T19:59:06+00:00
Vaccine Update2021-02-12T19:04:14+00:00

February 12, 2021

The Upshot: Register with your local health district even if you have registered via VAFMA and/or VDACS for access to the vaccine.

More details:
As we shared last week, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) encourages farmers market staff, vendors and farmers to visit the website of their local health district to register via the web portal or other process set up by their local health district.

Up to this point, each health district has had a different method for registering for vaccine interest. Some districts have started offering vaccination to people working in the ag / food sector because they have already covered other essential workers in Phase 1b. Other health districts are still not scheduling appointments for food / ag employees because they have a backlog of healthcare, police, teachers, correctional workers, etc.

For example, the Eastern Shore Health District has started working with the poultry companies there to begin scheduling some vaccinations of poultry processing employees (although there is not yet enough vaccine availability to cover all the poultry employees). This is not the case in the Valley, which also has a concentration of poultry processors. In that region, the health districts are still dealing with a backlog of people in some of the other sectors mentioned and will then move to the poultry sector and other ag / food workers.

And in other regions like far Southwest Virginia, health districts may be close to offering appointments to food/ag essential employees. VDACS provided these districts with a list of commercial growers, farmers markets / vendors, etc at the health district’s request. Even in these areas, we would still encourage you to go to the web page of your health district and input your info in the appropriate vaccine interest form.

CVS is also offering vaccinations at select sites. The page they have set up is https://www.cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine. The CVS Virginia sites are focusing on those people 65+ but should move to other eligible categories in the near future.

Frontline Essential Workers by Order of Vaccination Planning
Because there is not sufficient supply at this time to vaccinate everyone in Phase 1b at the same time, local health districts will reach out to engage the Frontline Essential Worker groups in vaccination planning in the following order:

1. Police, Fire, and Hazmat
2. Corrections and homeless shelter workers
3. Childcare/PreK-12 Teachers/Staff (public and private)
4. Food and Agriculture (including veterinarians)
5. Manufacturing
6. Grocery store workers
7. Public transit workers
8. Mail carriers (USPS and private)
9. Officials needed to maintain continuity of government (including judges and public-facing judicial workers)

As we have more information, we will share it with you.

Enhancing the Safety of Locally Grown Produce – Produce Growers/Farmers Market Produce Vendors (Virtual Program)2021-02-12T19:02:15+00:00

Many farmers will sell their produce at farmers markets, which is one way to get their produce into their community, support the local economy, and increase profits. The safety of produce is essential for their continued growth so consumers have confidence in their products.

This self-paced course will provide you the knowledge to understand the science and causes of foodborne illness, the best practices to decrease the risk of contaminating produce, and how to safely display and sell produce at the market. This course is intended for produce growers and farmers market produce vendors.

Course Registration

Cost: $5

Face Mask Requirements and the Americans with Disabilities Act2021-01-27T18:10:08+00:00

Face Mask Requirements and the Americans with Disabilities Act: What should farmers markets do to comply with the ADA during the COVID-19 pandemic?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers markets across the country face questions about creating and enforcing mask policies.

A new factsheet, available here, outlines how markets can create a mask policy in the context of state and local mask mandates, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Final Standard For Infectious Disease Prevention2021-01-27T17:05:45+00:00

On January 13, 2021, the Safety and Health Codes Board adopted a Final Permanent Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention: SARS-CoV-2 Virus that Causes COVID-19, 16 VAC25-220. The Governor reviewed the Standard in accordance with 16 VAC25-220.A. The Standard was filed with the Virginia Registrar of Regulations on January 25, 2021. The Final Standard in its entirety was published in the January 27, 2021 edition of the Richmond Times Dispatch, making the Standard effective on January 27, 2021.

Early Access to Vaccine for Virginia Farmers Markets2021-01-12T17:48:10+00:00
January 12, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

On January 8th, we sent a letter to Governor Northam requesting that farmers market managers, staff and vendors that sell at farmers markets be considered for early access to the COVID-19 vaccine (letter is on our website). The Governor’s office has indicated that due to the importance of farmers markets and producers this request is being considered favorably.

We certainly understand that there are groups who should be first in line (healthcare & eldercare workers, and others), but we believe that farmers market personnel should be considered among the groups to have early access to the vaccine. Virginia’s Farmers Markets have played a critical role providing access to healthy nutrient dense food to communities across the Commonwealth in a moment when grocery stores faced food shortages. Providing early access to the COVID-19 vaccine will make Virginia’s over 350 farmers markets even safer for this essential service.

We have been requested to provide the names and contact information for interested farmers market managers, staff, and vendors as the Virginia Department of Health will need the information for next steps.

  • Market Managers — please download the spreadsheet at this link and add the names and contact information of the staff (paid and unpaid) and vendors who wish to receive early access to the vaccine. If a participant does not have email, just include their phone number. Attach your spreadsheet to an email and send it to info@vafma.org by January 20th.
  • Farmers Market Vendors — if you wish to receive early access to the vaccine, please contact the market manager at each of the markets you participate in asking to be added to their vaccine contact list.
This contact information will be collected and forwarded to the Virginia Department of Health, who will then reach out to the markets directly with next steps.The deadline for submitting your vaccine contact list to VAFMA is Wednesday, January 20, 2021. Your timely attention to this matter is needed. We have included a sample letter for market managers below.

Working together we will keep farmers markets safe for our communities to access healthy local food.

Sincerely,

Kim Hutchinson, PhD, MBA
Virginia Farmers Market Association
Executive Director

Sample Email to Vendors and Staff

Dear Market Staff and Vendors,

The Virginia Farmers Market Association (VAFMA) sent a letter to Governor Northam requesting that farmers market managers, staff and vendors that sell at farmers markets be considered for early access to the COVID-19 vaccine (letter is here). The Governor’s office has indicated that due to the importance of farmers markets and producers this request is being considered favorably.

VAFMA has requested the names and contact information of those interested in receiving early access to the vaccine as the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) will need the information to send next steps.

If you and your market workers would like to be added to the list, please send me the following information:

  • First Name, Last Name, Business Name, email address, and phone number for each person requesting early access to the vaccine. Please also list the farmers markets you participate in so VDH can avoid duplicating people on the list.

I need this information by Tuesday, January 19th.

Thank you,

Request: Provide Markets with Early Access to COVID-19 Vaccine2021-01-08T21:21:08+00:00

January 8, 2021

Governor Ralph Northam
Secretary of Agriculture Bettina Ring
Commissioner Jewel Bronaugh

With the introduction of a COVID-19 vaccine, we understand that government officials are tasked with the difficult decision of how to prioritize distribution given the currently limited resources. The Virginia Farmers Market Association, representing over 350 farmers markets, is respectfully requesting consideration for Virginia Farmers Markets farmers, producers, and market managers to be designated as essential workers as you develop criteria for prioritization.

We certainly understand that there are groups who should be first in line (healthcare & eldercare workers, and others), but we believe that farmers market personnel should be considered among the groups to have early access to the vaccine. Virginia’s Farmers Markets have played a critical role providing access to healthy nutrient dense food to communities across the Commonwealth, in a moment when grocery stores faced food shortages. Providing early access to the COVID-19 vaccine will make Virginia’s over 350 farmers markets even safer for this essential service.

Even though a large percentage of Virginia’s farmers markets benefit from operating outdoors, which science suggests lowers risk of exposure, and every farmers market in Virginia has implemented necessary measures to protect the health and safety of its farmers, producers, customers, and staff, personnel at these markets are still at risk. The average American farmer is over 57 years old and they usually work the markets themselves.

Please do not forget farmers market workers, many of whom are in the at-risk group, in your considerations.

Thank you for your tireless work and sacrifice this past year.

With warm regards,

Kim Hutchinson, PhD, MBA
Executive Director
Virginia Farmers Market Association

Phase 3 Farmers Market Requirements2020-12-11T14:16:00+00:00

Updated December 11, 2020 — Yesterday Governor Ralph Northam announced new, targeted measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 as new cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in all areas of the Commonwealth. The order does not appear to add new restrictions to farmers markets.

 

Governor’s New Mitigation Measures Do Not Appear to Impose New Restrictions on Farmers Markets

December 11, 2020 — Yesterday Governor Ralph Northam announced new, targeted measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 as new cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in all areas of the Commonwealth.

Executive Order Seventy-Two directs Virginians to stay at home between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., implements a universal mask requirement, and lowers the limit on social gatherings from 25 people to 10 people. The order will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, December 14 and remain in place through January 31, 2021, unless rescinded or amended.

The order does not appear to add new restrictions to farmers markets.

VAFMA’s Executive Director, Dr. Kim Hutchinson, contacted Commissioner of Agriculture, Dr. Jewel Bronaugh to ask how the new guidelines impacted farmers markets. The Commissioner responded that there do not appear to be new guidelines that would significantly impact farmers markets. If there is anything she needs to follow-up with us about, she will be sure to do so.

Below is the section pertaining to farmers markets. Read the details included in the full text of the Executive Order. Section III (page 16) of this document includes the particulars about face coverings.

Number Seventy-Two (2020) And Order of Public Health Emergency Nine Common Sense Surge Restrictions Certain Temporary Restrictions Due To Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Farmers’ Markets 
Farmers’ markets may continue to operate, provided such businesses comply with the Guidelines for All Business Sectors and the sector-specific guidelines for farmers’ markets incorporated by reference herein. Such guidance includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements:

a. Employees and patrons must maintain at least six feet of physical distancing between individuals who are not Family members, as defined below, at all times. Employees and vendors must, where possible, configure operations to avoid congestion or congregation points.
b. Employees and vendors must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth while working at their place of employment.
c. Employees and vendors must routinely clean and disinfect frequently-contacted surfaces during operation.
d. Patrons must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth according to Section III. (Page 16 of EO #72 document)
e. Farmers’ markets must promote frequent and thorough hand washing, including by providing employees, customers, visitors, the general public, and other persons entering into the place of employment with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, provide hand sanitizers.
f. If any such business cannot adhere to these requirements, it must close.

Guidelines for All Business Sectors (November 13, 2020)

Executive Order 72 (2020) and Order of Public Health Emergency Nine

News Release: Governor Northam Announces New Mitigation Measures to Slow COVID-19 Spread

 

Updated November 16, 2020 — Impact of Governor Northam’s Phase Three Tightening on Farmers Markets

November 16, 2020 — Regarding Governor Northam’s Phase Three Tightening of Certain Temporary Restrictions, the 25 person limit mentioned only applies to social gatherings, not farmers markets. This has been verified by Cassidy Rasnick, Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade in the Office of Governor.

You may read the details of the restrictions here and here.

VAFMA will continue to communicate with VDACS and the Governor’s office for clarification of restrictions as they are announced.

News Release: Governor Northam Announces New Statewide Measures to Contain COVID-19

Executive Order: Sixth Amended Number Sixty-Seven (2020) and Order of Public Health Emergency Seven – Phase Three Tightening of Certain Temporary Restrictions Due to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Mandatory & Best Practices: Safer at Home: Phase Three Guidelines for All Business Sectors

 

Updated September 10, 2020 – Phase Three Further Easing of Restrictions

A recently amended Executive Order from Governor Northam eases some of the requirements on farmers markets in communities in Phase 3. These include:

  • Vendors and employees are not required to wear face coverings if the market is outdoors and physical distancing can be maintained.
  • Customers may be provided with self-service options.
  • Sampling is allowed if VDACS guidelines detailed below are followed.

Employees and vendors in customer-facing indoor areas must continue to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times.

The Virginia Farmers Market Association continues to recommend that vendors, farmers market staff and customers wear face coverings at farmers markets to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

VDACS Food Safety Guidance

VAFMA’s Executive Director Kim Hutchinson contacted Dr Jewel H. Bronaugh, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, to ask 1) if customers can pick up and pick out their own produce and items at farmers markets and 2) that sampling no longer has to be pre-packaged and to go-vendors can sample at their booths.

The Commissioner responded that regarding customers picking their own produce and product sampling, “Customers may be provided with self-service options. Facilities must provide hand sanitizer at food lines and require the use of barriers (e.g., gloves or deli paper) when employees or patrons touch common utensils. Food lines must be monitored by trained staff at all times of operation, and serving utensils must be changed hourly.”

Read the full text of the amended Executive Order

 

Updated July 3, 2020 – Phase Three Updates

Read the Governor’s Required Guidelines for Phase Three are on Pages 12-13 of this Document

Phase 3 Best Practices still promote No Touch / Low Touch customer purchasing: Given the climbing numbers of the virus cases across the nation, today VDACS Commissioner, Dr. Jewel Bronaugh suggested farmers market vendors continue to adhere to no touch shopping and keeping products 6-feet from customers.

In Phase 3, restrictions regarding the consumption of food and drink while walking in a farmers market have been lifted.

 

Updated June 19, 2020 – Phase Three Farmers Market Requirements

Read the Governor’s Required Guidelines for Phase Three are on Pages 12-13 of this Document

Update: Artisans can come back in Phase 3

Businesses must strictly adhere to the physical distancing guidelines, enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices, and enhanced workplace safety practices provided in the “Guidelines for All Business Sectors” document. Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services regulated facilities must continue to follow requirements related to prohibiting sick employees in the workplace, strict handwashing practices, and procedures and practices to clean and sanitize surfaces.

During Phase 3, farmers markets should continue to offer order ahead and pickup options. If markets choose to open, they must adhere to the additional requirements for outdoor service.

Clarification of Guidelines2020-12-10T17:38:25+00:00

December 10, 2020 — When new guidelines and restrictions are released by state government, VAFMA communicates directly with state officials to get clarification on how the requirements impact Virginia’s farmers markets, vendors and farmers.

We share these updates via this page, our e-newsletter and on social media.

To be notified of updates, join our e-newsletter.

To support our continued advocacy, become a member of the Virginia Farmers Market Association or make a donation. Thank you!

Coronavirus and USDA Assistance for Farmers2020-12-10T02:23:54+00:00

December 9, 2020 — Farmers.gov — “USDA employees continue to assist agricultural producers with disaster assistance, conservation, safety net, and farm loan programs and services like conservation planning and acreage reporting while supporting flexibilities for producers and implementing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities (CARES) Act.”

CDC Print Resources2020-12-10T02:03:27+00:00
Local Food Systems Response to COVID2020-12-10T20:08:13+00:00

Local Food Systems Response to COVID — The pandemic has brought new and heightened attention to our food system, and Local and Regional Food Systems may be positioned to significantly increase the scope and scale of their market reach as a result.

Watch relevant webinars and access over 150 resources via this page.

 

Get health updates and information about COVID-19 cases from the Virginia Department of Health2020-12-09T02:04:09+00:00

Get health updates and information about COVID-19 cases from the Virginia Department of Health here.

Infectious Disease Training for Farmers Markets2020-12-09T02:03:12+00:00

Infectious Disease Training for Farmers Markets Scheduled for January 5, 2021

New safety standards from the VA Department of Labor and Industry require farmers markets to:

1. Create a check-in protocol for symptoms and exposure before each shift <all businesses>

2. Develop an infectious disease plan <businesses with 11 or more employees/volunteers>

3. Create a coronavirus 101 training for employees and volunteers with a completion certificate offered at the end of the training <all businesses>

To assist farmers markets in complying with this mandate, VAFMA is offering a training class that will walk market managers through the steps of compliance. Our emergency services consultant, Paul Helmuth, will guide attendees through the requirements and how they apply to farmers markets.

Date/Time: January 5, 2021 from 6pm – 10pm

Cost: $150 for members; $225 for non-members

Registration

Phase 3 guidelines for all business sectors2020-12-10T20:33:35+00:00

November 13, 2020 – Best Practices for all business sectors are included in Phase Three Guidelines for all Business Sectors.

Farmers markets are addressed specifically on pages 14-16.

NSAC: COVID-19 Resources2020-12-10T20:08:33+00:00

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition COVID-19 Resources Page

As farmers and communities all across the country continue to deal with the impacts of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, NSAC is collecting resources from members, partners, and allies to help mitigate the challenges facing the food and farm system during this crisis.

Money/Direct Aid Grants
Information/Resource Libraries
Trainings, Webinars, and Workshops
Support for Farmers of Color and Indigenous Communities
Support for Farmworkers
Support for Other Communities of Food/Farm Stakeholders
(organic farmers, beginning and veteran farmers, farm-to-institution, food access, farmers markets, etc.)
Technical Assistance (Food Safety and Produce Handling, etc.)
USDA, Agency, and Congressional Resources
State-Specific and Regional Resources

How has COVID impacted your market?2020-12-10T17:53:01+00:00

How has COVID impacted your farmers market?

Please take 10 minutes to help researchers from Virginia Tech and North Carolina State University assess the impact of COVID-19 on farmers markets. They are seeking input from farmers market managers and vendors on practices implemented in response to COVID-19. They hope to use this data to better understand how resources can be developed for you.

The survey can be accessed here: https://virginiatech.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cGVIIyJZZFkSNkp
We ask that you share this survey within your networks. The more responses they get the better!

VDH Posters: Wear a Mask2020-12-09T02:03:47+00:00
Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative Resource Page2020-12-10T20:03:46+00:00

The “team at the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative is working to provide up-to-date educational resources relating to COVID-19 for Indian Country.”

Navigating COVID-19 Relief for Farmers

 

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program2020-12-10T17:15:39+00:00

September 21, 2020Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 – Are you a farmer or rancher whose operation has been directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic? USDA is implementing Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19.

June 3, 2020 – You can now apply for USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which provides direct payments to farmers and ranchers to offset impacts from the coronavirus pandemic. Applications will be accepted through August 28, 2020. See the toolkit for stakeholders here.

CDC: Considerations for Outdoor Farmers Markets2020-12-10T18:26:19+00:00
Statewide Emergency Workplace Safety Standards2020-12-09T02:14:20+00:00

All Virginia businesses – including farmers markets, farms and market vendors — are now required to adhere to the new Statewide Emergency Workplace Safety Standards adopted by The Department of Labor and Industry’s Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) Program and the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board in July 2020.

The standards require farmers markets to:

  • Create a check-in protocol for symptoms and exposure before each shift
  • Develop an infectious disease plan (deadline was 9/14/20) * (businesses with 11 or more employees)
  • Create a coronavirus 101 training for employees with a completion certificate offered at the end of the training (deadline was 8/14/20)

To assist farmers markets in complying with this mandate, VAFMA is offering a training class that will walk attendees through the steps of compliance. Harrisonburg City COVID-19 Response Coordinator, Paul Helmuth, will guide attendees through the requirements and how they apply to farmers markets.

Emergency Temporary Standard on Infectious Disease Prevention

VABF Coronavirus Resources2020-12-10T19:11:16+00:00

The Virginia Biological Farming Association publishes a regularly updated page: Coronavirus Resources Farmers, Consumers, & Farmers Market Managers

What to Consider When Choosing an Online Farm Sales Platform2020-12-10T21:35:30+00:00

From June 2, 2020 — During the Farmers Selling Online webinar series from VAFMA and the VSU Small Farm Program, Mary Delicate shared “What to consider when choosing an online farm sales platform.”

View a pdf of the presentation here

View a recording of the webinar here

Rebuild VA Grant Program2020-12-10T18:22:36+00:00

December 10, 2020 – Virginia Allocates $100 Million Rebuild VA Economic Recovery Fund, Benefitting 2,500 Small Businesses and Nonprofits Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic

As of December 9, 2020, all available grant funds have been exhausted.

July 27, 2020 — Rebuild VA economic recovery fund grants for Virginia businesses and nonprofits whose normal operations were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic: https://www.governor.virginia.gov/rebuildva/

 

Farmers Selling Online Webinar Series2020-12-10T18:47:57+00:00

Three free webinars focusing on choosing and using an online sales platform.

Choosing a Platform (June 2020) – This webinar is for farmers who want to add an online store or online pre-ordering system to their operations. It provides practical details about 4 different platforms — Google Forms, Square, Lulus Local Food and Local Line via Virginia Market Maker. It also covers what to consider before choosing a platform.

Using Lulus Local Food (July 2020) – The second webinar in the series walks farmers and market managers through the Lulus Local Food application process, setting up a store, tracking inventory, downloading reports and more. The speakers also demonstrate how farmers and other vendors can use the platform as their own online store while selling through multiple online farmers markets.

Using Local Line (July 2020) – The third webinar in the “Farmers Selling Online” series from VAFMA and the VSU Small Farm Outreach Program takes a closer look at the Local Line online platform. It is directed at farmers but also gives market managers a better understanding of how the system works. Chris Walker of Local Line walks attendees through the setup process, tracking inventory and downloading reports. He also covers pricing and customer payment options.

 

Brought to you by the Virginia Farmers Market Association and Virginia State University
In partnership with Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia State University College of Agriculture, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Farm Credit, Farm Credit Knowledge Center, Virginia Farm Bureau and Virginia FAIRS.

Food Safety Resources2020-12-10T18:11:22+00:00

July 15, 2020 — Strategies to Control the Spread of COVID in the food industry — Publications from Virginia Cooperative Extension:

https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/tags.resource.html/pubs_ext_vt_edu:food-safety

SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot2020-12-10T18:48:22+00:00

July 10, 2020 – FNS Launches the Online Purchasing Pilot

July 2, 2020 – DUCKWORTH, DURBIN INTRODUCE BILL TO IMPLEMENT AND EXPAND ONLINE SNAP PURCHASING NATIONWIDE – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) today introduced a bill to address hunger needs during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond by requiring the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expand online Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) purchasing choices by enabling additional retailers to participate in the program. The Expanding SNAP Options Act would provide funding for the creation of a universal online and app-based portal to make access to nutritious foods from the full variety of SNAP retailers possible and easy to navigate for consumers. Online SNAP purchasing is currently limited to a very small number of approved retailers due to technological and financial barriers, and in many states the only options are Walmart and Amazon.

COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide2020-12-10T19:48:24+00:00

July 2020 – USDA and its Federal partners have programs that can be used to provide immediate and long-term assistance to rural communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. These programs can support recovery efforts for rural residents, businesses and communities through:
• technical, training, and management assistance;
• financial assistance; and
• state and local assistance.

The resource matrix linked here organizes funding opportunities identified in stimulus bills and other federal resources that can help support rural America.

Farm Stress Training For Farmers and Ranchers2020-12-10T18:24:39+00:00

June 26, 2020 — Farm Credit developed free resources focused on mental health and stress management. Access farm stress training for farmers and ranchers: farmcredit.com/rural-resilience

What Grocery and Food Retail Workers Need to Know about COVID-192020-12-10T18:24:07+00:00
Can vendors sell alcohol via a market’s online ordering platform?2020-12-10T18:48:49+00:00

June 9, 2020 — Selling alcohol at a farmers market using an online ordering platform is complicated. If you are considering adding wineries, cideries or breweries to your market’s online platform, please reach out to ABC Special Agent in Charge – Compliance Marc Haalman for details — including licensing requirements for your market.

Contact: 
Marc Haalman | Special Agent in Charge – Compliance
Virginia ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement, a fully accredited state law enforcement agency
2901 Hermitage Road, Richmond, VA 23220
Office: (804) 213-4626 | Cell: (804) 840-5397 | marc.haalman@abc.virginia.gov
https://www.abc.virginia.gov

Phase 2 Farmers Market Requirements2020-12-09T01:55:19+00:00

June 9, 2020 – Can artists and craft vendors return to market?

In the Governor’s Phase Two Guidelines (page 15), farmers markets are encouraged to follow the best practice of limiting vendors to those selling food and horticultural products, or other handcrafted products critical for hygiene and sanitation such as handmade soaps and face coverings.

While this is not a mandatory requirement, Dr. Jewel H. Bronaugh, VDACS Commissioner states: “You simply hope people will comply for the good of everyone involved.”

June 4, 2020 – Phase Two Farmers Market Requirements

Read the Governor’s Required Guidelines for Phase Two are on Pages 14-16 of this Document

Regarding vendors and market staff wearing face masks:
VDACS Deputy Secretary had a conversation with Governor’s counsel yesterday regarding the requirements / guidelines for face coverings, both for farmers market vendors and for the general public.

According the Governor’s Executive Order and accompanying sector specific guidance: “Employees and vendors working at the farmers markets must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth, such as using CDC Use of Cloth Face Coverings guidance.”

According to advice from the Governor’s counsel, there is not an exemption for this requirement. A farmer or farmer’s employee working at a farmers market cannot serve the public without a face covering.

To clarify, if you are a vendor and have a medical condition that prohibits you from wearing a face mask per CDC guidelines, then you cannot be at the farmers market.

See Page 14 of the Guidelines for All Business Sectors. The same applies if the locality remains in Phase 1 of re-opening.

Small Business and Non-Profit Relief Funding2020-12-10T19:16:38+00:00
VSU Farmers Market Social Distancing Signs2020-12-10T03:06:09+00:00

May 26, 2020 — Dr. Theresa Nartea of Virginia State University created attractive social distancing signs for farmers markets to use. Access them here.

Read the Extension Bulletin: COVID-19 Social Distancing Signage for Use at Farmers Markets

Virginia Pandemic-EBT2020-12-09T01:56:24+00:00

May 26, 2020 — Virginia Pandemic-EBT can be used at SNAP authorized markets and matched through the Virginia Fresh Match program. Please read this flyer carefully. If you are eligible, you will get a Virginia P-EBT Card in the mail, in the next 30 to 45 days. Use your card to receive a 50% discount of fresh fruits and vegetables at any Virginia Fresh Match outlet location:

www.VirginiaFreshMatch.org/locations

The Virginia P-EBT Card will have food assistance benefits on it that can be used for food items anywhere SNAP benefits are accepted.

You did not apply for these benefits, but you have a student or students in your household who are eligible for free/reduced meals at their school. Because they are not in school right now, Virginia can give you these P-EBT food benefits to use.

Local Funding Opportunities2020-12-09T01:39:29+00:00
Phase 1 Farmers Market Requirements2020-12-09T02:28:23+00:00

May 13, 2020 – Phase 1 Guidance for Virginia Farmers Markets
Below is the Phase 1 guidance that was approved by the Governor’s Office and provided to us by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).

This guidance only applies to farmers markets in communities moving into Phase 1. Farmers markets in communities that have decided to delay moving into Phase One — such as all counties in Northern Virginia — must continue to adhere to previous guidance.

Farmers Markets
Phase I: Establishments must either implement the following mandatory requirements or remain closed.

Mandatory Requirements:
Businesses must strictly adhere to the physical distancing guidelines, enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices, and enhanced workplace safety practices provided in the “Guidelines for All Business Sectors” document. Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services regulated facilities must continue to follow requirements related to prohibiting sick employees in the workplace, strict handwashing practices, and procedures and practices to clean and sanitize surfaces.

During Phase I, businesses should continue to offer takeout and delivery options. If businesses choose to open to dine-in customers, they may only do so in outdoor spaces and they must adhere to the following additional requirements for outdoor service:

1. Post signage at the entrance that states that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19, or known exposure to a COVID-19 case in the prior 14 days, is permitted in the establishment or farmers market.

2. Post signage to provide public health reminders regarding physical distancing, gatherings, options for high risk individuals, and staying home if sick (Samples).

3. On-site shopping is allowed, as long as physical distancing guidelines are adhered to. Configure operations to avoid congestion or congregation points.

4. Employees and vendors working at the farmers markets must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth, such as using CDC Use of Cloth Face Coverings guidance.

5. Encourage customers to wear face coverings while entering, exiting, or otherwise traveling throughout the farmers market. Face coverings may be removed while seated.

6. Do not seat parties of more than 10. All parties, whether seated together or across multiple tables, must be limited to 10 or less.

7. For on-site dining, either use a menu board with no individual menus or use single-use disposable menus (e.g., paper) and discard after each customer. Reusable menus are not permitted in Phase I. Refilling food and beverage containers or implements brought in by customers is not allowed in Phase I.

8. Provide a minimum of six feet between parties at tables, (i.e., the six feet cannot include the space taken up by the seated guest). If tables are not movable, seat parties at least six feet apart. Spacing should also allow for physical distancing from areas outside of the facility’s control (i.e. provide physical distancing from persons on public sidewalks).

9. Provide hand sanitizer stations or hand washing stations for patrons and employees.

10. Vendors must use enhanced cleaning and disinfecting practices to regularly clean and disinfect spaces and equipment.

11. No self-service of food (except beverages), including condiments. Condiments should be removed from tables and dispensed by employees upon the request of a customer. Buffets must be staffed by servers. For self-service beverage areas, use beverage equipment designed to dispense by a contamination-free method.

12. A thorough cleaning and disinfection of frequently contacted surfaces must be conducted every 60 minutes.

13. Vendors and employees handling money should sanitize their hands between each transaction.

Best Practices:
In addition to the requirements provided above, establishments are encouraged to utilize the following best practices to the extent they are feasible:

1. Promote no touch or low touch purchasing opportunities by pre-boxing or pre-bagging food items.* (see additional note below)

2. Update your website and social media with detailed instructions so patrons understand the expectations while at your market.

3. Discourage vendor sampling.

4. A mobile market could be used to reach communities with low food access but should comply with social distancing guidelines for customers shopping and follow all recommended hygiene and sanitation protocols.

5. Limit vendors to those selling food and horticultural products, or other handcrafted products critical for hygiene and sanitation such as handmade soaps and facemasks.

6. Encourage touchless payment systems.

Additional Note About Onsite Sales
VAFMA received approval for the following guidance.

For on-site produce and plant shopping:
While vendors will still be using the low touch, no touch method of only having one per item on display, all items to purchase do not have to be individually pre-bagged. They can be kept behind the vendors in boxes — out of reach of customers — and then bagged at time of sale.

For example, If a customer walks up and asks to buy 3 bunches of greens and a bunch of carrots, the producer can select the items, bag them for the customer and set the bag down on the table for the customer to pick up.

 

Updated May 11, 2020

Governor Northam’s Executive Order Number 61 includes the below section on farmers markets. We anticipate additional guidance from VDACS soon.
  1. Farmers MarketsEffective 12:00 a.m., Friday, May 15, 2020, farmers markets may reopen, provided such businesses comply with the Guidelines for All Business Sectors and the sector-specific guidelines for farmers markets incorporated by reference herein. Such guidance includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements:
    1. On-site shopping is allowed, as long as physical distancing guidelines are followed. Configure operations to avoid congestion or congregation points.
    2. Employees and vendors in customer-facing areas must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times.
    3. Vendors must supply hand sanitizer stations or hand washing stations for patrons and employees.
    4. A thorough cleaning and disinfection of frequently contacted surfaces must be conducted.
    5. If any such business cannot adhere to these requirements, it must close.

Updated May 4, 2020

More Flexible Guidelines Coming for Farmers Markets

This afternoon Governor Ralph Northam announced that more flexibility is coming for farmers markets related to “foot traffic and prepared food.” Secretary Bettina Ring said written guidelines will be finalized in the coming week.

In a conversation with VAFMA Executive Director Kim Hutchinson, VDACS Commissioner Jewel Bronaugh conveyed that the two main changes regarding farmers markets will be that markets can now use on site browsing and on site dining.

She emphasized that markets must continue to adhere to the principles of social distancing and no congregation. There must continue to be 6 feet between customers as well as 10 feet between vendors. Vendors must continue to use personal protective equipment as previously outlined. They recommend that customers use face coverings as well.

We will share the full written guidelines with you when we have them from VDACS.

April 13, 2020 – VDACS released an official summary of guidelines for Farmers Markets

April 8, 2020 – Farmers Markets FAQs from VDACS

Updated March 30, 2020

FARMERS MARKETS ARE STILL OPEN UNDER EOC 55!

After speaking with Commissioner Bronaugh of VDACS this afternoon, she confirmed farmer’s markets are still operating under the same guidelines and protocols as last week under EOC 53.

March 26, 2020 – Additional Guidance approved by VDACS

March 25, 2020 – VDACS Farmers Market Guidance

Updated March 23, 2020 – Farmers Markets May Only Offer Delivery and/or Takeout Services

In a very disappointing turn of events … effective Tuesday at 11:59 PM, Virginia farmers markets may only offer delivery and/or takeout services.

VDACS Commissioner Dr. Jewel Bronaugh just called Kim Hutchinson, VAFMA Executive Director, to clarify that farmers markets may only accept pre-ordering or online ordering — items have to be packaged and ready for pickup at the market.

This order goes into effect at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 and will remain in place until 11:59 PM on Thursday, April 23, 2020.

Governor’s Statement Below:

Governor Northam Orders Statewide Closure of Certain Non-Essential Businesses, K-12 Schools

~ Bans public gatherings of more than 10 people ~

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today issued a statewide order to protect the health and safety of Virginians and reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. Executive Order Fifty-Three orders the closure of certain non-essential businesses, bans all gatherings of more than 10 people, and closes all K-12 schools for the remainder of the academic year. Governor Northam is also urging all Virginians to avoid non-essential travel outside the home, if and when possible.
This order goes into effect at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 and will remain in place until 11:59 PM on Thursday, April 23, 2020.

“This is an unprecedented situation, and it requires unprecedented actions to protect public health and save lives,” said Governor Northam. “I know the next several weeks will be difficult. These restrictions on non-essential businesses will create hardships on the businesses and employees affected. But they are necessary, and we do not undertake them lightly. I am calling on Virginians to sacrifice now, so that we can get through this together.”

In addition, Virginia is launching a statewide media campaign to ensure Virginians fully understand their risk and do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Commonwealth’s “Health in Your Hands” campaign will include radio and television spots as well as statewide billboards and highway signs.

 

Public Gatherings

All gatherings of more than 10 people are banned statewide, beginning at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. This does not include gatherings that involve the provision of health care or medical services, access to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks; operations of the media; law enforcement agencies; or operations of government.

K-12 Schools

All schools will remain closed through the end of this academic year. The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) will issue guidance to help divisions execute plans to continue instruction, while ensuring students are served equitably, regardless of income level, access to technology, English learner status, or special needs. This includes options for additional instruction through summer programming, integrating instruction into coursework next year, and allowing students to make up content. VDOE will submit a waiver to the federal government to lift end-of-year testing requirements and is exploring options to waive state mandated tests.

 

Recreation and Entertainment Businesses

The following recreation and entertainment businesses are considered non-essential and must close to the public beginning at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020:

Theaters, performing arts centers, concert venues, museums, and other indoor entertainment centers;
Fitness centers, gymnasiums, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities;
Beauty salons, barber shops, spas, massage parlors, tanning salons, tattoo shops, and any other location where personal care or personal grooming services are performed that would not allow compliance with social distancing guidelines to remain six feet apart;
Racetracks and historic horse racing facilities;
Bowling alleys, skating rinks, arcades, amusement parks, trampoline parks, fairs, arts and craft facilities, aquariums, zoos, escape rooms, indoor shooting ranges, public and private social clubs, and all other places of indoor public amusement.
Dining and On-Site Alcohol Establishments

All dining and congregation areas in the following establishments must close to the public beginning at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. These establishments may continue to offer delivery and/or takeout services. Establishments include:

Restaurants;
Dining establishments;
Food courts;
Farmers markets;
Breweries;
Microbreweries;
Distilleries;
Wineries; and
Tasting rooms.
Retail Businesses

The following retail businesses are considered essential and may remain open during normal business hours:

Grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retailers that sell food and beverage products or pharmacy products, including dollar stores, and department stores with grocery or pharmacy operations;
Medical, laboratory, and vision supply retailers;
Electronic retailers that sell or service cell phones, computers, tablets, and other communications technology;
Automotive parts, accessories, and tire retailers as well as automotive repair facilities;
Home improvement, hardware, building material, and building supply retailers;
Lawn and garden equipment retailers;
Beer, wine, and liquor stores;
Retail functions of gas stations and convenience stores;
Retail located within healthcare facilities;
Banks and other financial institutions with retail functions;
Pet stores and feed stores;
Printing and office supply stores; and
Laundromats and dry cleaners.
All essential retail establishments must, to the extent possible, adhere to social distancing recommendations, enhanced sanitizing practices on common surfaces, and other appropriate workplace guidance from state and federal authorities.

Any brick-and-mortar retail business not listed above must limit all in-person shopping to no more than 10 patrons per establishment, adhere to social distancing recommendations, sanitize common surfaces, and apply relevant workplace guidance from state and federal authorities. If any such business cannot adhere to the 10-patron limit with proper social distancing requirements, it must close.

 

Additional Guidance

Professional businesses not listed above must utilize telework as much as possible. Where telework is not feasible, such businesses must adhere to social distancing recommendations, enhanced sanitizing procedures, and apply relevant workplace guidance from state and federal authorities, including CDC, OSHA, and the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry.

Businesses in violation of this order may be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Nothing in Executive Order Fifty-Three limits the provision of health care or medical services, access to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks; the operations of the media; law enforcement agencies; or operations of government.

The full text of Executive Order Fifty-Three can be found here. Additional guidance and a Frequently Asked Questions guide can be found here.

Watch the video of today’s announcement here.

 

Updated March 21, 2020

Virginia Farmers Markets are Open for Business! 10 Customers at a Time

We anticipate an official statement on Monday, however, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has assured us that farmers markets are able to stay open in Virginia provided they restrict occupancy to not more than 10 customers at a given time in the market. (This number does not include vendors).

All markets and vendors need to strictly follow the protocols provided on this page. Look at Leesburg Farmers Market photos below to see this in action.

The Secretary of Agriculture, VDACS, and the Virginia Department of Health are working with us and have been from the beginning. They are very aware of our concerns and are doing what they can to serve the farmers market community and keep everyone safe.

VDACS Commissioner Dr. Jewel H. Bronaugh asked that we let “VAFMA members know we are working diligently to adhere to the guidelines of Governor Northam and Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Commissioner Oliver regarding the Public Health Emergency Order. Farmers’ Markets are important to us in Virginia. We are doing the very best to keep everyone safe so we can move through this pandemic and all of Virginia’s valuable agricultural industries can return to normal operations.”

Markets with Revoked Permits

As we continue to work to keep farmers markets open, let us know if your local municipality, city council, etc closed your market or suspended your permit due to COVID-19.

Senator Mark Warner’s office has stated that they are happy to continue to work with VAFMA  “to ensure farmers markets across the Commonwealth are not unnecessarily forced to close/suspend operations during this public health emergency.” Please e-mail us if this applies to your market.

Let Us Know if You are Open
We are building a list of markets that are open. Please email us your market name, where you’re market is located, your market hours, etc so we can build a list and advertise the open markets!

We Need Your Help
During this critical time we need funds to continue to advocate for you. As an organization with limited resources we rely on donations to keep our doors open. Now more than ever, we need your support to help keep Virginia farmers markets open for business. If you are able to, please make a donation today.

As we have more news, we will share it here.

Thank you for your continued support of Virginia’s farmers markets!

 

Updated March 20, 2020

As of right now farmers markets are able to stay open in Virginia provided they restrict occupancy to not more than 10 customers at a given time in the market. (This number does not include vendors). All markets and vendors need to strictly follow the protocols provided on below.

We have submitted letters to the Governor, the Secretary of Agriculture and the Commissioners of Agriculture and of Health requesting that farmers markets be considered essential infrastructure for food access and remain open. They are discussing the situation and will follow-up with us once they have determined how to proceed.

The Secretary of Agriculture, VDACS, and VDH are working with us and have been from the beginning. They are very aware of our concerns and are doing what they can to serve the farmers market community and keep everyone safe.

We thank everyone who signed on to the letter. We know there are many more who wanted to sign it but missed the short window we had it open. We had to move very quickly because the situation is rapidly changing as you well know.

As soon as we have more news, we will let you know. Thank you for your continued support of Virginia’s farmers markets.

Updated March 19, 2020

Today, VAFMA sent a letter to Bettina Ring, the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry in Virginia, requesting that farmers markets be given the same designation as grocery stores for the purposes of COVID-19 containment policies. Read the letter. The letter was digitally signed by over 1,100 individuals. Those who signed the letter represented many Virginia businesses.

In addition to the letter, we also included protocols for Farmers Markets should they remain open.

Updated March 19, 2020

We believe that farmers markets provide vital food access services to our community, and we will continue to do so as safely as possible The health, safety and overall wellbeing of our farmers market community is always our top priority.

With this in mind, we have been closely monitoring the rapidly-changing situation around COVID-19 (commonly referred to as coronavirus), responding to new information as it arises and preparing for all possible scenarios, with the goal of farmer’s markets continuing to safely serve Virginia’s communities.

As the spread of COVID-19 has become a reality in Virginia, market operators are developing communications, preparing contingency plans and, in some regions, beginning to modify operations. Some public health officials may require that markets close until the outbreak diminishes. 

To help market operators adapt to this rapidly changing economic and public health situation, the Virginia Farmers Market Association has compiled information and recommendations from farmers markets, state associations, health departments and the Centers for Disease Control. 

Farmers Markets Are Essential: Our open-air markets are important and necessary food outlets for community members from all economic backgrounds across Virginia to purchase healthy, fresh, nutritious food.

Farmers Markets Allow You to Shop Direct: Shopping at our markets means that you can purchase fresh, nutritious food from as close to the source as possible.

Farmers Markets Support Our Region: Farmers markets are essential to the livelihood of farmers and food producers. Shopping at farmers markets means you are supporting your local economy, which is especially critical in this time of uncertainty.

There is no evidence that food is a source or transmission route for the virus. To keep our farmers, producers, and shoppers safe, we are encouraging the following actions at Virginia’s markets:

  • Our farmers markets are vibrant community spaces where many shoppers gather to socialize in addition to purchasing groceries. However, for the time being, we ask shoppers to prioritize essential food purchasing and eliminate social gatherings at the market. 
  • Farmers markets vendors will only be food /produce vendors and ready-made food will be carry out only.
  • If a vendor is sick or has been exposed to (or suspects they have been exposed to) COVID-19, ask them not to attend the market. We require vendors and customers to take note if they are experiencing symptoms such as fever or dry cough, to stay home to take care of themselves and protect others if they are sick.
  • Market managers will wipe down commonly used services, such as the market information table, EBT redemption devices (phones, card swipers), and have hand sanitizer available.
  • Market managers will mandate that Vendors wear gloves and change them frequently.
  • All markets will suspend sampling of products at the market and to restrict access to condiments, silverware, cup lids, etc. unless requested.
  • Markets will send an email/post on social media  before the market informing customers of the new guidelines and asking folks who are sick to stay home.
  • Customers will practice “social distancing” – maintaining a space of about six feet from each other – and markets will inform customers of this policy as they enter the market; have signage, and volunteers, if possible, spread throughout the market reminding customers of the practice.
  • Market managers will  temporarily redesign market locations to limit contact and still allow people to purchase from vendors.  The space between vendors will be increased to reduce crowding to 10+ feet with no more than 2 customers at a booth at a time.
  • Customers will not handle any items on the vendors’ tables but, instead, will  just point at what they want and let vendors bag their purchases; market managers will  provide vendors with signage informing customers of this policy.
  • Market managers are asked to rescind/relax the policy about not allowing purchases until opening bell to prevent the long lines that form at vendors’ booths before the market opens; instead, allow early arrivals to make purchases.
  • Vendors are asked not to use cloth tablecloths to make it easier to sanitize surfaces; or, if using a tablecloth, to lay a sheet of plastic over the top of vendor tables or cloth tablecloths which can be wiped down with sanitizer.
  • We are encouraging vendors to have one person to handle money and another to handle product.
  • Contactless pay options are easy and convenient and minimize the need to interact with credit cards or cash. Customers will be encouraged to use Apple Pay or similar. We encourage Vendors to round their prices to the nearest dollar so they can stop accepting coins (in the laboratory the virus has survived on coins). Vendors handling money should not touch food products until they have washed their hands. 
  • As possible, have volunteers stop by the vendor booths to relieve them so they can leave and wash their hands.
  • Hand sanitizer should be ubiquitous throughout the market, at market manager tables, vendor tables and also in other locations throughout market.
  • If possible, vendors should pre-package produce, offering it in closed containers or single-use containers. 
  • All special events and programming, including POP programming, food and cooking demos, music, etc. are suspended. Farmers Markets will be for food sales only.

The COVID-19 virus is thought to be spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes and can be killed using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. If you are an at-risk population (particularly older adults or immunocompromised individuals) we encourage you to prioritize your own health and minimize your exposure to large groups of people. Consider asking a friend or family member to pick up your market items for you.

Stay Informed

Farmers market operators should consult their local health departments and the Virginia Department of Health for current public health information pertinent to their community.  Regularly read the updates and recommendations available on their website and sign up for any alerts offered by local or county-level health officials. The CDC has issued interim guidance for large public gatherings with useful steps.

Highlights include:

  • Establish relationships with key community partners and stakeholders such as local health departments and collaborate with them on broader planning efforts. 
  • Virginia has declared a state of emergency in response to COVID-19.  A state of emergency is a procedural step that allows state and local health officials to access additional resources for identifying, treating and preventing the spread of the disease. 

Proper Cleaning Protocol

Vendors must clean and sanitize their supplies and equipment regularly:

For surfaces that will be in contact with food or food products (such as produce bins, coolers, boxes, tools), use detergents and sanitizing solutions that are food safe:

  • Clean the surface with a detergent (for example, Dawn dish detergent) and rinse thoroughly.
  • Use a sanitizer product that is approved for use on food contact surfaces. (Consult this list: https://producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu/sites/producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu/files/shared/documents/PSA-Labeled-Sanitizers-for-Produce.xlsx).
  • Follow the label instructions for the sanitizer you use when mixing, applying and storing it. Some sanitizers require contact time on the surface to be effective, and others require a rinse step.
  • Allow the surface to air dry. 

To clean and sanitize surfaces that will not come into contact with food or food products (such as chairs, tables, truck beds):

  • Clean the surface with a detergent (for example, Dawn dish detergent) and rinse thoroughly.
  • Use a product that the EPA has approved for use against viruses and other emerging pathogens: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2020-03/documents/sars-cov-2-list_03-03-2020.pdf.
  • Follow the label instructions for the sanitizer you use when mixing, applying and storing it. Some sanitizers require contact time on the surface to be effective, and others require a rinse step.
  • Allow the surface to air dry. Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and sanitizing surfaces.

Additional Resources

CDC Link

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html 

Virginia Department of Health 

http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/

FEMA Guidance for COVID – 19 Preparedness

https://www.ready.gov/ 

Please take good care of yourselves, your family and friends, and your communities
as we all navigate this immense challenge together.

Farm Bureau: Producer Resources Related to COVID-192020-12-10T02:53:13+00:00

Virginia Farm Bureau provides relevant links and news for Virginia farmers related to farm operations during this public health challenge: https://www.vafb.com/farmerresources

Virginia Tech releases report on pandemic’s impact2020-12-10T02:50:21+00:00
Face Mask Resources2020-12-09T01:52:32+00:00

If you cannot find face coverings locally, below are two national businesses:

Resource for USA made face masks: https://enviro-tote.com/facemasks

Custom-branded face coverings: https://impactcanopy.com/pages/custom-facial-covering

Farmer’s Guide to Direct Sales Software Platforms2020-12-10T19:04:56+00:00

April 2020 — The National Young Farmers Coalition created a Farmer’s Guide to Direct Sales Software Platforms.

Farmers Market Success During COVID-19 Webinars2020-12-10T18:49:23+00:00

Farmers Market Success During COVID-19: Market-Managed Online Sales

Recorded April 28, 2020

$15

Due to COVID-19, demand for healthy local food is increasing. Of course, the difficulty of getting that food to customers has increased too. More and more customers are asking for markets to manage the online ordering process. The market managers in this training have decided to do that.

In this two hour training recording, you will hear about four markets – each one uses a different ordering platform and a different distribution system. One market has been online since 2013. The others are new since the coronavirus changed the farmers market landscape.

They share their successes and lessons learned along with their communication strategies, market rules, online platform decisions, payment methods and much more. VAFMA staff also share recommendations and resources.

Purchase Access Here ($15)

You will receive links to the recording as well as the presentations and resources in your receipt.

Farmers Market Success During COVID-19: Vendor Managed Pre-orders

April 23, 2020 — ACCESS TO RECORDING NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE

$15

At a time when demand for healthy local food is skyrocketing, farmers markets face incredible hurdles. In this 3 hour online training, 5 market managers share how they are navigating this obstacle course using vendor-managed pre-orders.

They detail their successes and lessons learned along with their communication strategies, signage, market rules, physical structure, social distancing practices, use of volunteers, payment methods and more.

At each of these markets, vendors take their own pre-orders and online sales. However, the markets use different set-ups and processes to adapt to their available space and location restrictions.

There are drive thru markets, curbside pickups and walk through shopping. The markets are government, private and non-profit run; urban, rural and suburban.

VAFMA staff summarize the recommendations and resources shared. They also open up the discussion for Q&A.

Providing SNAP & Virginia Fresh Match2020-12-09T01:36:38+00:00
Farmers Markets Physical Redesign for COVID-19 Mitigation2020-12-09T02:04:34+00:00

April 27, 2020 — Here is a recording of the Farmers Markets Physical Redesign for COVID-19 Mitigation meeting held on Zoom: Watch Replay

Getting Your Market Open & Keeping it Open During COVID-192020-12-09T02:02:00+00:00

Recorded April 16, 2020 12pm – 1:30 pm

View Recording

This VAFMA webinar will provide an update of the latest state operation requirements for Virginia’s farmers markets. We’ll answer your questions and provide examples to help you adjust the setup of your market.

Meredith Ledlie Johnson of Virginia Cooperative Extension will be with us to discuss using SNAP at markets during COVID-19. She’ll share how market managers are adjusting SNAP benefit sales to meet the current market guidelines.

Kim Hutchinson, Executive Director of VAFMA will explain how to work with your local officials to get your market open. Howard Herman of Falls Church Farmers Market will share his experience navigating the challenges he faced getting his market open.

Riko Metzroth of Farmers Insurance Financial Services will be with us to discuss general liability during COVID-19. He’ll also talk about two Small Business Administration Loans of interest to markets and their vendors.

Farmers Market Manager Call with VDACS2020-12-10T19:25:41+00:00

Updated April 13, 2020

Farmers Market Manager Call with VDACS – Tuesday April 14th

Tuesday, April 14th, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM, Secretary Bettina Ring and Commissioner Jewel Bronaugh invite farmers market managers to join them for updates and discussion around VDACS farmers market guidance during COVID-19.

The goal of the call is to provide additional guidance for farmers markets, while maintaining operational flexibility to meet community needs.

Please note … this call is for farmers market managers ONLY. Please do not encourage additional members to join, as they wish to effectively manage discussions and answer questions around topics of importance to managers.

Farmers Market Manager Call
Tuesday, March 14th, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Agenda:
⁃ 2:00 PM – Introductions: Jewel Bronaugh, VDACS Commissioner
⁃ 2:05 PM – Welcome & Overview of Executive Order 53 & 55: Bettina Ring, Secretary of Agriculture & Forestry
⁃ 2:10 PM – Farmers Market Guidance: Jewel Bronaugh
⁃ 2:15 PM – VDACS Guidance Update and Review of Farmers’ Markets Q&A: Charles Green, VDACS Deputy Commissioner
⁃ 2:25 PM – Online SNAP & Fresh Match Update: Heidi Hertz, Assistant Secretary of Agriculture & Forestry
⁃ 2:30 PM – Questions, Comments, Sharing of Best Practices: Facilitated by Jewel Bronaugh
⁃ 2:55 PM – Conclusion: Secretary Bettina Ring

Conference Call Info:
Tel: 1-866-845-1266
Passcode: 97995625

Using SNAP/EBT with On-Line ordering and alternate market settings2020-12-10T18:50:55+00:00

April 2020: From Elizabeth Borst: Per FNS, SNAP authorized markets may conduct transactions in alternate locations to provide access to affordable local produce in their communities during the current emergency. 

 Markets may temporarily organize alternate community sites to sell produce and run SNAP and Fresh Match transactionsPreordering, and paying with SNAP at pick up is fine.

Please note, if you are using Lulu’s for on-line ordering:

SNAP shoppers must call or email Sam Lev (sam@leapforlocalfood.org), and he will help them register. After registration, Sam will give the shopper a credit on their account of $60 (the  weekly cap on SNAP+match). This way, shoppers can place orders without paying, then pay 1/2 price upon pickup. Markets should communicate that the order must be “eligible”, aka only SNAP eligible items and over half Fruits and Veggies.

Sam Lev will  keep a running list of all registered SNAP shoppers, and refresh their credits up to $60 each week.

Lulus is also working on a Payment on Delivery option, although it may be a week or two away.

If you are using Food4All for online ordering:

Food4All is  working with partner markets to provide a pay at pickup option.  Unfortunately at this time, there are not “buy on the spot”  possibilities.

VAFMA Shared Google Drive (Resources)2020-12-09T02:00:30+00:00

During 2020 VAFMA members and partners were generous sharing their practices, signs, guidelines, etc. You may access many of these on VAFMA’s shared google drive.

 

Online Farmers Market Platforms2020-12-10T19:08:16+00:00

Updated July 2020View the Farmers Selling Online webinar series from VAFMA and VSU Small Farm Outreach Program.

From VABF:

Online Sales Platforms most used in Virginia:

March 25, 2020 – There are many online platforms available to markets and vendors for pre-ordering and online ordering. These are the ones shared with us:

Lulu’s Local Food ,What’s GoodLocal LineHarvie , Food4All., SquareSpace

Here are example instructions provided by Lynchburg Community Market of how to handle curbside pick-up orders: 

  • All orders must be prebagged and ready for delivery Saturday morning
    • All orders must be placed before vendor’s arrival at Market
    • This means we cannot take any walk-in or call-in orders day of
  • Ask for prepayment of orders
    • This helps keep customers moving as quickly as we can
    • If prepayment isn’t available vendors must wear single use gloves
    • Deliver order, then take payment, then WASH YOUR HANDS 
  • Hours on Saturday are relaxed
    • Invite your customers to pick up before 7 if possible/interested 
  • We have to put a hard limit on 10 pickup customers.
    • If all 10 spaces are full, we will ask customers to circle back 
    • Please try to stagger customer pickups if they’re asking about pickup times 
  • Customer procedure
    • Staff checks who customer has order with and directs them to parking space 
    • Staff can run orders – only if prepaid – staff cannot handle money 
    • Follow above procedure for delivering pickup 
    • If customer is paying with SNAP let us know! Our SNAP terminal is mobile 

If you have had a positive experience with another platform, please let us know.

LVHMC COVID-19 Sign2020-12-09T01:51:56+00:00

March 23, 2020 — Per community request, here is the sign that Loudoun Valley HomeGrown Markets Cooperative used to notify customers of COVID-19 protocols at market: link.

Keeping Farmers Markets Open in Virginia2020-12-10T18:50:08+00:00

Updated March 21, 2020

Virginia Farmers Markets are Open for Business! 10 Customers at a Time

We anticipate an official statement on Monday, however, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has assured us that farmers markets are able to stay open in Virginia provided they restrict occupancy to not more than 10 customers at a given time in the market. (This number does not include vendors).

All markets and vendors need to strictly follow the protocols provided on this page. Look at Leesburg Farmers Market photos below to see this in action.

The Secretary of Agriculture, VDACS, and the Virginia Department of Health are working with us and have been from the beginning. They are very aware of our concerns and are doing what they can to serve the farmers market community and keep everyone safe.

VDACS Commissioner Dr. Jewel H. Bronaugh asked that we let “VAFMA members know we are working diligently to adhere to the guidelines of Governor Northam and Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Commissioner Oliver regarding the Public Health Emergency Order. Farmers’ Markets are important to us in Virginia. We are doing the very best to keep everyone safe so we can move through this pandemic and all of Virginia’s valuable agricultural industries can return to normal operations.”

Markets with Revoked Permits

As we continue to work to keep farmers markets open, let us know if your local municipality, city council, etc closed your market or suspended your permit due to COVID-19.

Senator Mark Warner’s office has stated that they are happy to continue to work with VAFMA  “to ensure farmers markets across the Commonwealth are not unnecessarily forced to close/suspend operations during this public health emergency.” Please e-mail us if this applies to your market.

Let Us Know if You are Open
We are building a list of markets that are open. Please email us your market name, where you’re market is located, your market hours, etc so we can build a list and advertise the open markets!

We Need Your Help
During this critical time we need funds to continue to advocate for you. As an organization with limited resources we rely on donations to keep our doors open. Now more than ever, we need your support to help keep Virginia farmers markets open for business. If you are able to, please make a donation today.

As we have more news, we will share it here.

Thank you for your continued support of Virginia’s farmers markets!

 

Updated March 20, 2020

As of right now farmers markets are able to stay open in Virginia provided they restrict occupancy to not more than 10 customers at a given time in the market. (This number does not include vendors). All markets and vendors need to strictly follow the protocols provided on below.

We have submitted letters to the Governor, the Secretary of Agriculture and the Commissioners of Agriculture and of Health requesting that farmers markets be considered essential infrastructure for food access and remain open. They are discussing the situation and will follow-up with us once they have determined how to proceed.

The Secretary of Agriculture, VDACS, and VDH are working with us and have been from the beginning. They are very aware of our concerns and are doing what they can to serve the farmers market community and keep everyone safe.

We thank everyone who signed on to the letter. We know there are many more who wanted to sign it but missed the short window we had it open. We had to move very quickly because the situation is rapidly changing as you well know.

As soon as we have more news, we will let you know. Thank you for your continued support of Virginia’s farmers markets.

 

Updated March 19, 2020

Today, VAFMA sent a letter to Bettina Ring, the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry in Virginia, requesting that farmers markets be given the same designation as grocery stores for the purposes of COVID-19 containment policies.

Read the Letter

The letter was digitally signed by over 1,100 individuals. Those who signed the letter represented many Virginia businesses.

In addition to the letter, we also included protocols for Farmers Markets should they remain open: Download Protocols

 

Updated March 19, 2020

We believe that farmers markets provide vital food access services to our community, and we will continue to do so as safely as possible The health, safety and overall wellbeing of our farmers market community is always our top priority.

With this in mind, we have been closely monitoring the rapidly-changing situation around COVID-19 (commonly referred to as coronavirus), responding to new information as it arises and preparing for all possible scenarios, with the goal of farmer’s markets continuing to safely serve Virginia’s communities.

As the spread of COVID-19 has become a reality in Virginia, market operators are developing communications, preparing contingency plans and, in some regions, beginning to modify operations. Some public health officials may require that markets close until the outbreak diminishes. 

To help market operators adapt to this rapidly changing economic and public health situation, the Virginia Farmers Market Association has compiled information and recommendations from farmers markets, state associations, health departments and the Centers for Disease Control. 

Farmers Markets Are Essential: Our open-air markets are important and necessary food outlets for community members from all economic backgrounds across Virginia to purchase healthy, fresh, nutritious food.

Farmers Markets Allow You to Shop Direct: Shopping at our markets means that you can purchase fresh, nutritious food from as close to the source as possible.

Farmers Markets Support Our Region: Farmers markets are essential to the livelihood of farmers and food producers. Shopping at farmers markets means you are supporting your local economy, which is especially critical in this time of uncertainty.

There is no evidence that food is a source or transmission route for the virus. To keep our farmers, producers, and shoppers safe, we are encouraging the following actions at Virginia’s markets:

  • Our farmers markets are vibrant community spaces where many shoppers gather to socialize in addition to purchasing groceries. However, for the time being, we ask shoppers to prioritize essential food purchasing and eliminate social gatherings at the market. 
  • Farmers markets vendors will only be food /produce vendors and ready-made food will be carry out only.
  • If a vendor is sick or has been exposed to (or suspects they have been exposed to) COVID-19, ask them not to attend the market. We require vendors and customers to take note if they are experiencing symptoms such as fever or dry cough, to stay home to take care of themselves and protect others if they are sick.
  • Market managers will wipe down commonly used services, such as the market information table, EBT redemption devices (phones, card swipers), and have hand sanitizer available.
  • Market managers will mandate that Vendors wear gloves and change them frequently.
  • All markets will suspend sampling of products at the market and to restrict access to condiments, silverware, cup lids, etc. unless requested.
  • Markets will send an email/post on social media  before the market informing customers of the new guidelines and asking folks who are sick to stay home.
  • Customers will practice “social distancing” – maintaining a space of about six feet from each other – and markets will inform customers of this policy as they enter the market; have signage, and volunteers, if possible, spread throughout the market reminding customers of the practice.
  • Market managers will  temporarily redesign market locations to limit contact and still allow people to purchase from vendors.  The space between vendors will be increased to reduce crowding to 10+ feet with no more than 2 customers at a booth at a time.
  • Customers will not handle any items on the vendors’ tables but, instead, will  just point at what they want and let vendors bag their purchases; market managers will  provide vendors with signage informing customers of this policy.
  • Market managers are asked to rescind/relax the policy about not allowing purchases until opening bell to prevent the long lines that form at vendors’ booths before the market opens; instead, allow early arrivals to make purchases.
  • Vendors are asked not to use cloth tablecloths to make it easier to sanitize surfaces; or, if using a tablecloth, to lay a sheet of plastic over the top of vendor tables or cloth tablecloths which can be wiped down with sanitizer.
  • We are encouraging vendors to have one person to handle money and another to handle product.
  • Contactless pay options are easy and convenient and minimize the need to interact with credit cards or cash. Customers will be encouraged to use Apple Pay or similar. We encourage Vendors to round their prices to the nearest dollar so they can stop accepting coins (in the laboratory the virus has survived on coins). Vendors handling money should not touch food products until they have washed their hands. 
  • As possible, have volunteers stop by the vendor booths to relieve them so they can leave and wash their hands.
  • Hand sanitizer should be ubiquitous throughout the market, at market manager tables, vendor tables and also in other locations throughout market.
  • If possible, vendors should pre-package produce, offering it in closed containers or single-use containers. 
  • All special events and programming, including POP programming, food and cooking demos, music, etc. are suspended. Farmers Markets will be for food sales only.

The COVID-19 virus is thought to be spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes and can be killed using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. If you are an at-risk population (particularly older adults or immunocompromised individuals) we encourage you to prioritize your own health and minimize your exposure to large groups of people. Consider asking a friend or family member to pick up your market items for you.

Stay Informed

Farmers market operators should consult their local health departments and the Virginia Department of Health for current public health information pertinent to their community.  Regularly read the updates and recommendations available on their website and sign up for any alerts offered by local or county-level health officials. The CDC has issued interim guidance for large public gatherings with useful steps.

Highlights include:

  • Establish relationships with key community partners and stakeholders such as local health departments and collaborate with them on broader planning efforts. 
  • Virginia has declared a state of emergency in response to COVID-19.  A state of emergency is a procedural step that allows state and local health officials to access additional resources for identifying, treating and preventing the spread of the disease. 

Proper Cleaning Protocol

Vendors must clean and sanitize their supplies and equipment regularly:

For surfaces that will be in contact with food or food products (such as produce bins, coolers, boxes, tools), use detergents and sanitizing solutions that are food safe:

  • Clean the surface with a detergent (for example, Dawn dish detergent) and rinse thoroughly.
  • Use a sanitizer product that is approved for use on food contact surfaces. (Consult this list: https://producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu/sites/producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu/files/shared/documents/PSA-Labeled-Sanitizers-for-Produce.xlsx).
  • Follow the label instructions for the sanitizer you use when mixing, applying and storing it. Some sanitizers require contact time on the surface to be effective, and others require a rinse step.
  • Allow the surface to air dry. 

To clean and sanitize surfaces that will not come into contact with food or food products (such as chairs, tables, truck beds):

  • Clean the surface with a detergent (for example, Dawn dish detergent) and rinse thoroughly.
  • Use a product that the EPA has approved for use against viruses and other emerging pathogens: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2020-03/documents/sars-cov-2-list_03-03-2020.pdf.
  • Follow the label instructions for the sanitizer you use when mixing, applying and storing it. Some sanitizers require contact time on the surface to be effective, and others require a rinse step.
  • Allow the surface to air dry. Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and sanitizing surfaces.

Additional Resources

CDC Link

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html 

Virginia Department of Health 

http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/

FEMA Guidance for COVID – 19 Preparedness

https://www.ready.gov/ 

Please take good care of yourselves, your family and friends, and your communities
as we all navigate this immense challenge together.

Handling COVID-19: Guidance for Farmers Markets2020-12-10T18:20:36+00:00

March 17, 2020 – Handling COVID-19: Guidance for Farmers Markets

There has been a lot of concern about the safety of food during the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is that there is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitting via food. The following resources provide best practices for preparing for COVID-19 and managing risks related to food preparation, distribution and production environments such as restaurants, grocery stores, food banks, gardens and farms.

The guidance and best practices outlined come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), World Health Organization (WHO) and the best available science. All items are peer reviewed by an expert panel, and many are translated into Spanish. Check back frequently for updates to the guidance.

Renee Boyer, Professor and Extension Specialist, Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech; and Ben Chapman, Professor and Food Safety Extension Specialist, North Carolina State University

Handling COVID-19: Guidance for U-Pick Farms2020-12-10T18:26:59+00:00

Handling COVID-19: Guidance for U-Pick Farms

March 17, 2020 — There has been a lot of concern about the safety of food during the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is that there is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitting via food. The following resources provide best practices for preparing for COVID-19 and managing risks related to food preparation, distribution and production environments such as restaurants, grocery stores, food banks, gardens and farms.

The guidance and best practices outlined come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), World Health Organization (WHO) and the best available science. All items are peer reviewed by an expert panel, and many are translated into Spanish. Check back frequently for updates to the guidance.

Renee Boyer, Professor and Extension Specialist, Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech; and Ben Chapman, Professor and Food Safety Extension Specialist, North Carolina State University

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