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Farmers markets picked for networking program

By Megan Workman

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Ten farmers markets have been selected to participate in a training pilot program by the West Virginia Farmers Market Association.

The 10 markets -- selected through a competitive process -- that will participate in the Farmers Market Training Network Program are: Berkeley Springs Farmers Market, Buckhannon-Upshur Farmers Market, Fayette County Farmers Market, Lewisburg Farmers Market, Mineral County Farmers Market, Monroe County Farmers Market, Pocahontas County Farmers Market, Putnam County Farmers Market, The Wild Ramp (a local foods outlet in Huntington) and Williamson Farmers Market.

The program is being launched by the WVFMA in partnership with the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition, West Virginia University Extension and the WV Community Development Hub.

The two-year program will provide training and networking opportunities as well as business-planning support to the selected markets.

During the 2012 and 2013 market seasons, the chosen markets will take part in four training and networking events with market managers who will work the markets to find out what is and isn't working, Larry Lower, WVFMA president, previously said.

Participants also will be eligible to apply for a mini grant of up to $1,000 to address their needs.

"We need to find a more substantial way for communities who want to set up markets to improve their methods. That's why we started this program," Lower said in a previous interview. "The ultimate goal is to support and enhance the local food production and marketing in West Virginia."

The pilot program is free to farmers markets thanks to an $80,000 grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

There are nearly 80 farmers markets in West Virginia -- a number that has tripled in the last 10 years, Lower said.

To learn more, visit www.wvfarmers.org.

Reach Megan Workman at megan.workman@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.


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