ALEXANDRIA, VA – There is great news for Alexandria’s farmers markets! Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it will invest $90.2 million in projects to strengthen established markets and explore local and regional opportunities for new markets.
The Virginia Farmers Market Association (VAFMA) received an estimated $652,000. An additional $163,235 will establish the Virginia Certified Farmers Market System, a voluntary branding and support program to help markets as they continue to recover from the pandemic. The program will offer incentives for adopting a best-practices approach to business and adhering to state guidelines.
Shoppers will also benefit from this program. For example, they will know that a market is certified and be able to shop confidently. They can trust that it follows the guidelines in place, best practices, and offers food grown in Virginia.
Over the last year and a half, the VAFMA became a hub for training, networking, and information pertaining to Covid-19 safety. The organization hosted online training sessions and meetings with government officials. It also published detailed weekly newsletters and updated its website when Gov. Northam shared new and relevant information.
“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.”
VAFMA expects the program to be launched next spring.