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WHEREAS, the number of Virginia’s farmers’ markets has increased over 218 percent, from 88 markets in 2006 to 280 in 2021; and
WHEREAS, farmers’ markets offer a way for new farmers to enter the marketplace by selling directly to the public; and
WHEREAS, vendors at farmers’ markets often educate their customers on agriculture, farming practices and environmental stewardship, including the conservation of land, water and other natural resources; and
WHEREAS, farmers’ markets have shown great resiliency in practice of their mission to connect farmers to communities while keeping Virginians safe during the COVID-19 pandemic; and
WHEREAS, farmers’ markets provide communities with a healthy food environment where the abundance of locally grown produce helps increase fresh fruit and vegetable consumption; and
WHEREAS, 106 farmers’ markets accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits allowing shoppers to purchase fresh, local Virginia-grown products for their families; and
WHEREAS, of those SNAP participating markets, 85 also participate in Virginia Fresh Match which provides double buying power for SNAP shoppers, additional income for farmers, and improved access to local food; and
WHEREAS, the economic impacts of farmers’ markets include direct benefits to farmers and affiliated businesses, but also includes other benefits to the community in stimulating revitalization, enhancing community engagement and preserving farmland through economic viability;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize August 1-7, 2021, as FARMERS’ MARKET WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.