Press Release

USDA Announces $816,175 Investment in Virginia’s Farmers Markets

State Group to Establish Virginia Certified Farmers Market System

Midlothian, Virginia December 1, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a $90.2 million investment in 203 projects to strengthen and explore new market opportunities for local and regional food businesses. The Virginia Farmers Market Association (VAFMA) was awarded $652,940 of the outlay, with an additional $163,235 of matching funds committed, to establish the Virginia Certified Farmers Market System. The voluntary branding and support program will help farmers markets emerge from the pandemic with more resilience, capacity, and profitability.

“The COVID‐19 pandemic strongly reinforced that farmers markets are essential,” said Kim Hutchinson, Executive Director of VAFMA. “However, it also exposed the markets’ dire need for increased support.”

Throughout the pandemic, VAFMA became a hub for up-to-date training, networking, and information. The organization hosted online trainings and meetings with government officials. It published weekly detailed newsletters and kept a frequently updated COVID‐19 resource page on its website. Every time the Governor published a COVID‐19-related Executive Order, VAFMA staff were in contact with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) to discuss how the new restrictions impacted farmers markets. They then shared that information with markets across the state.

“VAFMA’s visibility and credibility grew during the pandemic,” said Hugo Mogollon, President of VAFMA’s Board of Directors. “The USDA funding will help us capture this momentum and solidify a longer‐term vision of better supported farmers markets and increased profitability for the state’s farmers.”

The Virginia Certified Farmers Market program will offer markets incentives and support for adopting best practices and adhering to state guidelines. At the core of the program will be VAFMA’s extensive online training platform. It will include a range of webinars, mini‐workshops, and full multi‐session courses that will help market managers, farmers, and vendors achieve greater success.

Market shoppers will also benefit from the program. Knowing a market is a Virginia Certified Farmers Market, they can be confident that the market adheres to state guidelines, follows industry best practices, and offers Virginia Grown food. A statewide marketing campaign will promote Virginia’s Certified Farmers Markets to consumers. The promotion will complement the Virginia is for Farmers Market Lovers Trail campaign, VAFMA’s agritourism marketing collaboration with the Virginia Tourism Corporation.

VAFMA anticipates launching the program in early spring. To learn more about the Virginia Farmers Market Association, visit or contact Kim Hutchinson at 804-405-3288‬ or

About the Virginia Farmers Market Association
The Virginia Farmers Market Association (VAFMA) is a member‐based, statewide association supporting Virginia’s 356 farmers markets. VAFMA offers education initiatives, while building opportunities for collaboration, networking, advocacy, and innovation that supports the growth and sustainability of farmers and farmers markets statewide.


Images from 2020 showing farmers markets working to keep shoppers safe and meet state COVID-19 safety restrictions