During the onset of COVID-19, we all realized the importance of needing to have farmers markets deemed essential. Essential businesses were allowed to remain open. Insurance companies continued to cover the COVID related claims of essential businesses. In response, VAFMA made this a key goal of our 2021 agenda.

Currently, Virginia House Bill 2302 is making its way through the General Assembly. This bill provides that “any Commonwealth-based seller at a farmers market of food or beverage products, and the farmers market in which it is located, shall be considered an essential business to the same extent as grocery stores if such stores are allowed to remain open as essential businesses during a state of emergency declared by the Governor.”

VAFMA’s Executive Director, Dr. Kim Hutchinson, testified in support of this bill. HB 2302 was successful in the House and has moved to the Senate where it will be addressed in a Special Session of the General Assembly to reconvene Wednesday. The first stop is the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources and then if successful it will go to the full Senate.

Please reach out to your State Senator in support of HB2302. Find yours here: https://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/

You can continue to track the progression of the legislation via this link: https://legiscan.com/VA/bill/HB2302/2021