What a difference a year can make! We are thrilled with the renewed optimism and support that comes with our recent USDA funding. This will allow us to continue to support you and increase our training opportunities.
This year we will launch the Virginia Certified Farmers Market program and an online training platform. We will also reignite our Virginia is for Farmers Market Lovers campaign to bring tourists to your markets.
The past two years have been trying for everyone (to say the least). We are in awe of how farmers market managers and vendors rose to the challenge of 2020 & 2021!
As always, we are working hard to be there for you when you need us. Our role as chief advocate for the state’s farmers markets went into overdrive when COVID-19 hit, and we are not stopping.
Looking back on 2021, some highlights stand out:
- The Governor signed HB2302 into law making farmers market food and beverage products and sales essential during a state of emergency. VAFMA worked with Delegate Scott Wyatt — chief patron of the bill — and the bill’s co-patrons to make this happen. Our Executive Director testified before the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate, the House Agriculture Chesapeake and Natural Resources committee and the House and Senate finance committees; and we rallied thousands of you to sign on to our letter to the Governor.
- Our first online conference addressed four timely issues: food safety, conflict management, racial equity, and marketing.
- We helped markets navigate the changing COVID restrictions from the Governor’s Executive Orders with our frequent notifications and clarifications.
- Year 5 of our Market Manager Certification program ran for 15 weeks and we added two new segments to the course – Online Sales Platforms and Racial Justice and Farmers Markets.
- VAFMA pushed for early access to COVID-19 vaccinations for farmers market staff and vendors.
- VAFMA partnered with VSU’s Small Farm Outreach Program to present a series of “Farmers Market Readiness” webinars for farmers.
- We hosted a series of “Infectious Disease Training for Farmers Markets” to help markets comply with new mandates from the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry.
- We advocated for the HB 2065 Produce Rx Program which passed; and we continue to work with the state and community partners in implementation. It incentivizes consumption of qualifying fruits and vegetables by eligible individuals.
- VAFMA was the fiscal sponsor for the Base Camp Agritourism Conference – Exploring the Trails, Agritourism, and Downtown Ecosystem.
- VAFMA staff successfully challenged and remedied a situation with a scam marketplace that was fraudulently using the business identities of Virginia farmers markets and vendors.
We ask that you renew your commitment to advancing Virginia’s farmers markets and renew your membership in VAFMA to keep us working on your behalf.
The Board and Staff of the Virginia Farmers Market Association
Become a VAFMA Member for 2022
All levels of membership are annual (January – December).
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We exist to serve you. Join or renew today.
Consider Making a Donation
Our newly funded initiatives are built on a reimbursement system. This means we need to pay staff and partners prior to receiving the funding. We are asking you to help us bridge this initial gap in funding by making a donation. Donate today.