For last year’s National Farmers Market Week, we talked about why and how you should shop for fresh, local food at your neighborhood market. This year, I want to give a little bit of an update on how much the use of SNAP at farmers markets have grown and how FNP has expanded their work with markets across Virginia.
Growth of Farmers Markets in Virginia
Virginia is a big agriculture state, with over 46,000 farms producing $3.75 BILLION of products in 2012. (See more facts about Virginia’s Agricultural Industry here.) As farmers markets have grown in popularity, the number of farmers markets in Virginia has grown to over 250 markets across the state. In fact, Virginia ranks in the Top Ten nationwide for number of farmers markets in the state.
As the number of farmers markets has grown, more and more are accepting SNAP benefits. FNP’s Cooking Coach Meredith has been helping markets across the state get their EBT systems up and running in order to allow more people to access fresh, local foods at markets. Many markets also have formed Incentive Programs, which match SNAP benefits with additional funds for purchasing food, increasing the buying power of SNAP at the market.
In addition to helping more markets accept SNAP, FNP has increased programming at farmers markets with recipe demonstrations and nutrition education lessons. For the first time, FNP hired 6 students from Virginia Tech to offer these events at farmers markets in their hometowns. You can read more about their experiences here.
How You Can Celebrate National Farmers Market Week
- Visit your local farmers market! Let us know what delicious goodies you find in the comments.
- Read this article from University of Nebraska about finding good nutrition at the farmers market
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