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Connecting Beginning Farmers to New Markets: Start-up Advice & Resources for Gaining Access to Farmers Markets

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Leanne DuBois,  VA Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia Grown Program
Ellen Stewart, Blacksburg Farmers Market
Meredith Ledlie, Virginia Cooperative Extension,  Family Nutrition Program

Farmers markets are a growth industry in Virginia and the nation and a great venue for new farmers to reach customers and sell products.  This panel discussion covers three related themes to help you gain access to farmers markets.  First, learn about farmers markets in the state, unique marketing opportunities and resources available to assist in marketing and promotion through the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).   Next, learn a few “best practices” for applying and participating in a local market.  There are many variations in farmers markets.  How do you find the best fit for your business?   How do you apply?   Third, learn the ins and outs of accepting SNAP benefits (food stamps) at the farmers market or by applying for your own machine as a new vendor, discussed  by our Virginia Cooperative Extension, Family Nutrition Program.   

gaining-access-to-markets-presentation.pdf PDF of Gaining Access to Markets Presentation Slides

The Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition is a state-wide and coalition-based Extension program, housed in Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education. Funding was sponsored by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Award #2017-70011-26861, and the Southern Risk Management Education Center Grant #545015. For more information about the program, contact Katie Trozzo, Program Coordinator, at or 540-231-4582.   For other questions, contact Kim Niewolny, Program Director, at

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