- Education and Training: decision support system, mentoring, networking, technical assistance, workshop
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, business planning, farmers' markets/farm stands, market study
- Sustainable Communities: community development, community planning, food hubs, infrastructure analysis, leadership development, local and regional food systems, new business opportunities, partnerships, public participation, quality of life, social capital, sustainability measures, values-based supply chains
Problem and Justification: West Virginia producers are facing barriers without understanding the resources available to them in their region to remove those barriers. Agriculture service providers in the role of farmers market managers have identified some common producer barriers in a targeted 2019 survey conducted by WVFMA. WVFMA will monitor these barriers and periodically assess the regional progress being made to help producers work through them.
Solution and Approach: Farmers market managers can support producers who are not fully aware of the resources available to them. West Virginia Farmers Market Association (WVFMA) will develop leadership skills among ten West Virginia farmers market managers to serve as agriculture service providers in support of growth and sustainability for profitable agriculture businesses. Managers will be included in statewide conversation with experts and statewide service providers and be trained by WVFMA and other agriculture service providers in a peer-to-peer environment to use resources and technical assistance available to them to assess and address producer barriers. Trained farmers market managers will use the knowledge gleaned to provide ongoing support to producers through collaborative events and connections to statewide resource providers in order to address their needs. Producers participating in the events coordinated by the local farmers market manager will gain knowledge and confidence to improve the sustainability of their agriculture business.
Value Chain Cluster Initiative (VC2) has developed a statewide communication network around Processing, Aggregation and Distribution consisting primarily of agriculture service providers. Within that network there is little representation of West Virginia farmers markets. Thirty-four organizations are represented with only 17.65% of them being farmers markets. WVFMA with VC2 would use this established network to survey twenty statewide agriculture service providers, ten of them being farmers market managers, to determine what they believe are the biggest barriers for producers statewide. This survey would also assess resources and technical assistance already in place to address identified barriers. Once the barriers are identified and services are mapped; connections between statewide service providers and producers can be established.
Milestones and Performance Target: This is designed to improve the sustainability among agribusinesses through agriculture service providers. Managers will be trained to collect and report vendor sales data and customer count data on a monthly basis using the WVFMA data collection toolkit available online. Twenty-one service providers will host 20 events for 70 farmers to address producer barriers. Ten farmers market managers will identify barriers and map resources to assist 60 farmers in increasing their farmers market sales.Ten farmers market managers will address barriers and improve marketing at ten farmers markets to increase customer spending by $1 per customer per week for 60 farmer vendors. Sixty farmers will adopt new marketing practices leading to $9000 in increased market revenue.
Performance targets from proposal:
Twenty-one service providers will host 20 events for 70 farmers to address producer barriers. Ten farmers market managers will identify barriers and map resources to assist 60 farmers in increasing their farmers market sales.Ten farmers market managers will address barriers and improve marketing at ten farmers markets to increase customer spending by $1 per customer per week for 60 farmer vendors. Sixty farmers will adopt new marketing practices leading to $9000 in increased market revenue.