As a supporter of Virginia’s Urban Agriculture food economy, you understand the singular role Farmers Markets play to both consumers and food producers. Farmers Markets provide a source of fresh, nutritious and sustainable food to the local community, and are the sole revenue stream for many area small businesses. We ask for your help to show Richmond that Farmers Markets are important to you, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
Today, Governor Northam issued Executive Order 53, which lists those retail businesses deemed “essential”. Unfortunately, Farmers Markets did not make the list. While Farmers Markets were mentioned in ExOrd 53, they are conflated with the restaurant industry whose operations are limited to delivery and take-out services only.
Like many other States and municipalities across the Nation,
FOUA believes Farmers Markets should be deemed “essential” and carry the same status as grocery stores. Please sign our petition to show your agreement.
We are concerned that ExOrd 53’s vague description of Farmers Market will create further confusion within municipal governments. As we witnessed this past weekend, Arlington County Government stopped ALL Farmers Market operations based on its legal interpretation of Richmond’s guidance.
We are working with the Virginia Farmers Market Association (VAFMA), an advocacy organization for all Virginia’s Farmers Market vendors and operators. VAFMA will collect our responses and make a formal plea this week to Governor Northam, Virginia’s Secretary of Agriculture, and Virginia Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services (VDACS). VAFMA will implore Richmond to include Farmers Markets as “essential businesses” on all future executive orders, public health notices, proclamations, and/or legislation regarding the COVID-19 crisis.
Farmers Markets provide affordable, healthy food options for those unable to visit crowded, indoor grocery stores. Many Markets accommodate the diverse needs of our community, to include SNAP, WIC, and Senior Citizen benefits.
Farmers Markets are the life blood for many small businesses throughout Virginia who need revenue to survive this crisis. By buying local, your money will stay within the local community, exactly where it belongs during this crisis.
FOUA, VAFMA and Virginia’s Farmers Markets vendors and operators are committed to maintaining proper public health and safety protocols according to CDC, State, and Local guidelines.