In this Issue
Congratulations to Dr. Bronaugh!
Vaccine Update
Legislative Update
Online Sales Simplified
Infectious Disease Training
Impact of COVID-19 on Vendors
Updated Guide to USDA
Upcoming Webinars
Congratulations to Dr. Jewel Bronaugh!

We celebrate VDACS’ Commissioner, Dr. Jewel Bronaugh, on her appointment to serve as the first African American Deputy Secretary of Agriculture of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). In this position, she will be the second-highest ranking official in the USDA and will run the day-to-day operations of the almost 100,000 employee department.

We wish her well in this important role and will miss her being at VDACS! She has been a wonderful partner to VAFMA and Virginia’s farmers markets.

Vaccine Update: Register with Your Local Health Department

We received vaccine lists from 105 farmers market organizations. Per VDACS request, we have forwarded all info that we received from farmers markets to VDACS, and they are combining with their lists to create one comprehensive list of interested individuals affiliated with Virginia’s farmers markets. VDACS is the liaison on this project with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).

However, we have been asked to encourage everyone to also register with their local health departments. Every health district has a different timeline for appointments. You may have a quicker result in your community by going through your local health department.

Visit the Virginia Department of Health website for all questions related to COVID-19 and the vaccine.

VDH provides an overview of Virginia’s vaccine phases 1a, 1b and 1c. They also address frequently asked questions, provide tools for you to learn about which phase your city or county is in and for which vaccine phase you and your employees may be eligible.

We wish we had a better answer but as you have most likely heard through the news, the vaccine rollout has more than a few hurdles.

Virginia Legislative Updates

HB2302: Farmers Markets Essential
Wednesday, Dr. Kim Hutchinson, VAFMA’s Executive Director, gave testimony to the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee in support of HB2302 deeming farmers market food and beverage products and sales essential during a state of emergency. The bill was reported –15-6 in favor of the bill.

Next, the bill will head to the House floor for full vote and passage. If successful before Friday (Crossover), the bill will then head to the Senate. Once in the Senate, we will continue advocating for the successful passage of the bill.

You can continue to track the progression of the legislation via this link.

Please reach out to your local delegates in support of HB2302. Find your delegate here.

HB2065: Produce RX Bill
VAFMA Board President Hugo Mogollon and Executive Director Dr. Kim Hutchinson presented in support of the original version of this bill. It directed the Department of Social Services to establish a Produce Rx Program to incentivize consumption of qualifying fruits and vegetables by eligible individuals for whom increased consumption of fruits and vegetables is recommended by a qualified care provider.

A House Bill Substitute passed the House Appropriations committee 22-0 Monday. The new version of the bill requires the Department of Social Services to convene a workgroup to develop the framework for the Produce Rx program and report to the Governor and Chairmen of the House Committee on Appropriations and Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations by October 1st.

Next, the bill will head to the House floor for a full vote and passage. If successful before Friday (Crossover), the bill will then head to the Senate. Once in the Senate, we will continue advocating for the successful passage of the bill.


Time to Renew Your Membership

We are working hard to keep farmers markets, farms and market vendors thriving in Virginia. We advocate on your behalf, create educational and networking opportunities for you, and help you solve your market business issues.

Keep us working for you by becoming a member.

Join or Renew Your VAFMA Membership


Farmers Market Readiness Webinar Series

February 11, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Online Sales Simplified
The next webinar in the “Farmers Market Readiness” series from VAFMA and the VSU Small Farm Outreach Program will take a closer look at online sales platforms. It will be directed at farmers and give a better understanding of how various point of sales systems work for producers/vendors. We will walk attendees through the setup process, tracking inventory and downloading reports. We’ll also cover pricing and customer payment options along with answering your questions about the program.

Save the dates for 2 more webinars for market vendors:

  • Feb 25, 1-3PM: Food Safety
  • March 11, 1-3PM: Marketing/Social Media


Impact of COVID-19 on Vendors

A team of researchers from Virginia Tech and North Carolina State University are assessing the impact of COVID-19 on farmers markets nationwide. They are currently seeking input from vendors on practices implemented in response to COVID-19.

They hope to use this data to better understand how resources can be developed for these groups.

The survey can be accessed through this link

We ask that you share this survey within your networks. The more responses they get, the better we will all be able to understand COVID-19’s impact on farmers markets.

Infectious Disease Training for Your Employees

Infectious Disease Training for Farmers Markets
February 16, 2021 6:00PM – 10:00PM
$150 for members; $225 for non-members

Employers with hazards or job tasks classified as medium exposure risk (farmers markets and farms) are now required 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. (details)

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 this mandate, VAFMA is offering a training class that will walk market managers 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 4 hour 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


USDA Programs
Updated Guide to Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches, and Communities

It can be difficult for farmers to navigate the wide range of USDA resources and stay up to date with program changes after each Farm Bill. Thanks to this newly updated publication, producers, researchers, nonprofits, and landowners can easily find USDA programs that can help them achieve their goals.

Download Publication

More Learning Opportunities

2/4: Regenerative Agriculture Forum
2/8: Beginner/Small Farmer Orientation
2/10: Ellen Polishuk – Increasing Efficiency and Profitability for Farmers
3/16: Hispanic Field Day