West Virginia Farmers Market Association to train new farmers and vendors alike

“A lack of knowledge prevents growth in areas involving growing and selling your own food in markets.” – Adam Taylor, WVFMA project coordinator



Fresh produce sits at the Wild Ramp to be sold. The Wild Ramp, located on west 14th street, sells produce and other goods from local farmers and vendors.

West Virginia cities house famers markets where food is grown for community members.

West Virginia Farmers Market Association allows different markets in the state to become members of the association.

There are 54 total markets in the state with various vendors, new and old, coming to sell their products.

Out of these new vendors only 10 percent have done the proper research to run their farms for the first year and successfully sell food at markets.

This leaves the other 90 percent of new vendors in the dark.

Adam Taylor, WVFMA project coordinator, said markets provide some information but usually end up being too busy to guide newcomers every step of the way.

“A lack of knowledge prevents growth in areas involving growing and selling your own food in markets,” Taylor said.

Shelly Keeney, market manager at The Wild Ramp farmer’s market in Huntington, said information is key.

“You’re going to lose vendors if you can’t provide them with the information they need right away,” Keeney said.

The WVFMA initiated the New Vendor Launch, a program that will provide farmers and vendors with first hand knowledge on all aspects of production.

The goal of the WVFMA is to receive applications from farmers with up to two years of experience.

Those accepted will participate in a two-day training program in Charleston.

The WVFMA is working with the West Virginia University Extension Service, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition, to provide knowledge for those interested in maintaining a farming career.

This is the first year for the New Vendor Launch program, but Taylor said he hopes to have the training annually and hopes to have different training tracks this year.

William Izzo can be contacted at [email protected].