Vermont Encourages Supporting Local producers During National Farmers Market Week
This year, the annual campaign is centered around the essential role that farmers markets play in providing healthy local food access to everyone in our state during the coronavirus pandemic. Farmers Markets build prosperity among Vermont’s farmers and small businesses and help create healthy communities.
Farmers market organizations are local food heroes! 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 across Vermont were able to quickly shift operations to ensure customer and vendor safety while continuing to serve the community. Always a hub for innovation, this season has highlighted the adaptability of farmers markets while emphasizing the need for investment in local food systems.
“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.”
This week also marks the start of an exciting opportunity for increased spending power at qualifying farmers markets for Vermont’s 3SquaresVT/SNAP recipients. According to the USDA’s 2019 data, there has been a 30% increase since 2013 in SNAP spending at farmers markets, resulting in $22,886,272 spent in 2019. With the unprecedented high rates of unemployment our food assistance efforts are even more important than ever. NOFA-VT’s Crop Cash Program benefits 3SquaresVT/SNAP households, Vermont farmers, and the local economy by increasing the opportunity for limited-income Vermonters to use their federal benefit dollars to purchase more fresh, local produce that directly supports local farm businesses.
Typically, Crop Cash provides a one-to-one match of 3SquaresVT/SNAP benefits, up to $10 per day. However, from August through the end of this season in October, Vermonters shopping with 3SquaresVT/SNAP benefits will have triple the spending power. That’s $3 in spending power for every $1 spent on fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs from vendors at the farmers market!
For more information on Crop Cash, including a list of participating markets, WATCH this video or visit nofavt.org/cropcash or dial 2-1-1.
Find your nearest farmers market at https://nofavt.org/find-organic-local-food/farmers-markets and plan your next visit to see the resiliency of Vermont’s markets, thank your local farmers, and enjoy this summer’s harvest. We’d love to see there , tag us on Instagram @vtagriculture and use the hashtags: #FarmersMarketsAreEssential #FarmersMarketWeek.
For questions please contact:
Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
Ag Market Development Specialist