By Elizabeth Melson
In 2017, the Town of Warrenton updated market governance guidelines and the Board of Directors, which resulted in a 34% increase in the number of vendors attending. They implemented successful programming through community partners, volunteers, and grants.
The town continued that momentum in 2018, by hiring a part-time, seasonal manager. The focus of the Market Manager position was to arrange and continue family programming at the market, building on the successes of the previous season. Through the support of PATH Foundation, Warrenton Farmers’ Market and Fauquier FISH, in collaboration with a network of community partners, implemented the Farmers’ Market Coalition’s Power of Produce program at Warrenton’s two markets and at Archwood Green Barns Farmers’ Market in The Plains.
We offered free family events, live music, and a voucher program (POP Bucks) that contributed to market vitality and addressed food insecurity. Over $22,000 worth of POP Bucks were redeemed at Fauquier County farmers’ markets, money that may not have otherwise been available to the farmers and increasing access to locally produced, fresh food to area residents.
As a member of VAFMA, Warrenton Farmers’ Market was able to use Farmers’ Market Coalition’s Power of Produce branded program, so that we did not have to “recreate the wheel.”
Warrenton Farmers Market will be implementing the federal SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) this year. Households CAN use SNAP benefits to buy:
- Foods for the household to eat, such as:
- Breads and cereals;
- Fruits and vegetables;
- Meats, fish and poultry; and
- Dairy products.
- Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat.
We hope to also participate in matching grants that double or triple the SNAP dollars at the market.