In the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people expressed food security concerns and WVU Extension experienced an unprecedented increase in clients interested in growing a garden, canning and other topics related to the family food supply. Farmers markets have also seen dramatic increases from both consumers and new first-time vendors. In the late spring of 2021, the WV legislature made several very important changes to farmers market regulations related to the interaction of the vendors, the health department and the WV Department of Agriculture. Consequently, much of the information online for Farmers Market vendors was out of date. A small team of WVU Extension Agents developed a seven-part virtual series covering regulations for selling various agricultural products at farmers markets, marketing options and strategies available to vendors. Each presenter collaborated with the WVDA review the changes and discuss them with the WVDA to develop their presentation and materials to reflect the current regulations. Participants took an initial and a follow-up survey is underway now to determine which potential producers will be making changes for the 2022 season as a result of the program. 197 participants attended at least one session with the best attended session being Marketing for Profit (168 attendees); 58% of the attendees indicated they were not yet vendors. This poster will analyze the results of these surveys as well as highlighting important issues/concerns for beginning farmers market vendors.
|Conference||2022 Extension Risk Management Education National Conference|