West Virginia 16th Annual National Farmers Market Week kicks off

The 16th annual National Farmers Market week kicked off Tuesday August 2, 2015. The West Virginia Farmers Market Association is encouraging people that attend their local farmers market this week to raise awareness using ‘selfies.’

“The WVFMA is asking attendees at markets across the state to raise awareness of their community’s market by taking “selfies” in their farmers markets holding a print-out and upload those pictures to social media using the hashtag #MoretoMarketWV,” according to a WVFMA press release.

Farmers markets help increase the local economy by keeping the money in West Virginia. The West Virginia Farmers Market Association began in 2007 and has 57 member markets spread across that state selling a variety of locally grown products.

“Farmers market growth in West Virginia has been exponential since only a few years ago. WV farmers markets accounted for an estimated $9 million in direct sales in 2014 – up from $4 million in 2012, which is more than a 200% increase,” said Emma Gardner of the West Virginia Farmers Market Association, “The average WV farmers market grossed almost $97,000 per year in sales in 2014, up from less than $46,000 in 2012.”

Along with boosting the local and state economy buying food from farmers market also improves the health of the people eating the food. According to the Huffington Post, West Virginia is home to the fattest city in the United States, while being ranked third for over all obesity, Hunting takes the cake as the fattest city in the United States. The people who shop at a local farmers market will begin to improve their lifestyle as they purchase less processed and healthier foods.

“As for the health of our citizens, Farmers markets help bridge the gap between citizens and healthy, local foods,” Gardner said. “Much of West Virginia is considered a “food desert,” meaning many citizens in rural areas have low access to fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables. Farmers Markets can help to alleviate some of this problem.”

There are currently 93 farmers markets located all over West Virginia. There are three farmers markets in Cabell County. Pullman Square Famers Market located in Pullman Square, The Wild Ramp located on 14th Street in Huntington and Central City Market located behind The Wild Ramp in Old Central City.

Pullman Square Farmers Market and Central City Market are only open June-October, but The Wild Ramp is open all year round.

“Farmers markets play a vital role in forming healthy, local food systems,” says Jen Cheek, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “By providing the opportunity for farmers to connect directly with consumers, markets serve as education centers. Vendors are teaching customers about agriculture, sharing recipes, and exposing them to new foods. Markets are making people and communities stronger and healthier.”

Shalee Rogney can be contacted at [email protected]