The West Virginia Farmers Market Association and the WV Appalachian Foodshed Project (AFP) are pleased to announce the launch of a program to explore and encourage best practices for connecting WV markets to the emergency food system that serves the food insecure in your community. Funding is provided through a grant from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program. Through a competitive application process, 3 West Virginia farmers markets will be selected to participate in the Farmers Market Gleaning Project during the 2015 market season. Participating markets will receive up to $3,000 in funding to set up “gleaning programs” at their market, connecting farmers market products to entities like food pantries and soup kitchens, either through food sales, donations or other mechanisms. This money can be used for expenses directly related to the project, such as money for market manager time, marketing dollars for promotional events related to the project or mileage for transportation of gleaned produce.
Markets will be required to collect data on a weekly basis, reporting monthly to the project managers. At the conclusion of the 2015 season, the markets will report back to the project managers regarding the lessons learned through their pilot projects. In early 2016, a toolkit will be developed based on this project, which can be used by other markets interested in setting up gleaning project.
The goal of this project is to…
According to preliminary research by Jessica Crum, a WVU Agricultural Economics graduate student, very few WV farmers markets are currently connected to service agencies helping the hungry in their communities. Improving and encouraging these connections is important to community food security.
Community food security can be defined as “a condition in which all community residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet [in a manner] that maximizes community self-reliance and social justice.”
At the AFP Search Conference in March 2012, nutritionists, producers, academics, extension agents, community organizers, and emergency food providers engaged in a discussion about the importance of our work, and the idea of “food security” in our regional context. To guide the conversation, we used the Whole Measures for Community Food Systems as a basis for establishing shared values, vision, and understanding around community food security.
Your farmers market could work to cure hunger in your community!
For more information and to apply, download the full RFP: Farmers Market Gleaning Project RFP