Project GROWS Waynesboro Farmer’s Market celebrates National Farmers Market Week

Project GROWSThe Waynesboro Farmer’s Market joins markets across the country in celebrating National Farmers Market Week, which begins on Sunday.

From 9am-12pm on Saturday, Aug. 8 at Constitution Park, customers will be able to shop at the market while supporting local producers. Customers shopping at the market will have the chance to be entered into a raffle to win a variety of market prizes.

In addition, health care workers will also receive free giveaways in recognition of their heroic work during this time!

In the midst of a global pandemic, farmers markets — like all other small businesses — have been scrambling to continue operations for the farmers and communities that depend on them. Market managers have been at the forefront of adapting rapid solutions and innovation to protect staff, customers, and community.

When conventional food supply chains failed at the start of the pandemic, farmers markets and local food systems clearly displayed the resiliency of short supply chains and interest in local foods spiked nationwide.

National Farmers Market Week is an annual celebration of farmers markets coordinated by the Farmers Market Coalition, a membership-based 503(c)3 nonprofit organization that supports farmers markets nationwide through training, technical assistance, and network-building. This year, the campaign is centered around the essential role that farmers markets play in the food system as demonstrated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Farmers markets are essential to the life and livelihood of millions of shoppers and tens of thousands of farmers.” says Ben Feldman, executive director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “But farmers markets don’t happen by accident. It takes the planning, organization, and execution of dedicated individuals and community organizations. That work is harder than ever and farmers markets and the vendors who sell at them need all the help they can get.”

The WFM currently hosts a variety of farmers and producers selling products including vegetables, fruits, jams and jellies, teas, coffee, granola, eggs, meats, bread, yogurt, and more! This year, the WFM is able to offer online pre-order shopping with curbside pick up in addition to in-person shopping at the market. New market regulations include social distancing, sanitizing, and the use of masks in order to protect vendors and the public during the current pandemic.

To order to shop online visit https://projectgrows.luluslocalfood.com

“The pandemic has completely changed our market. We are no longer a gathering place, but we are still a community place. Even without the live music, the activities, and the social aspect our market is still thriving. To me this confirms that our market is essential in our community,” said Project GROWS Director of Food Access Megan Marshall.

With help from Virginia Fresh Match the market is able to continue accepting and doubling SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits at the market, meaning SNAP customers who spend $10 will receive $20 worth of fresh local foods. In addition to the SNAP program the market also accepts WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers.

Additionally, Project GROWS has begun a fresh food donation program at the WFM where surplus produce is collected from vendors following the market day and is donated to local food pantries and the Valley Mission homeless shelter.

Customers also have the opportunity to donate fresh food from the market by purchasing directly from the vendors and placing donated food items in the food donation bins.

To date, the market has donated over 60 pounds of fresh produce to local pantries and shelters in the area.

Project GROWS is a farm-based, nonprofit public health, educational and food access advocacy organization serving the Central Shenandoah Valley.

The mission of Project GROWS is to improve the health and lives of children and families through farm-based learning connecting healthy food from the farm, to the school and to the home.

For more information about Project Grows, visit www.projectgrows.org.


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