BY DEBRA J. MORRIS
We never imagined that a COVID-19 pandemic would upend nearly every aspect of society and the local food supply chain. Thankfully, farmers markets were declared essential businesses early on, albeit smaller and with limited access and with extensive safety guidelines and restrictions. More than ever before, National Farmers Market Week is an opportunity to confirm the value of local farmers markets in our communities.
When conventional food supply chains failed at the start of the pandemic, farmers markets and local food systems clearly displayed the resiliency of short supply chains and interest in local foods spiked nationwide.
We have worked diligently to ensure farmers markets are truly safe, welcoming, and inclusive spaces for all who wish to participate, including farmers, customers, vendors, and other stakeholders. The impact of COVID-19 created rapid change, adaptation, and innovation in the farmers market sector and has equally demonstrated our capacity for flexibility and resilience.
Even with these changes, we have continued to provide access to fresh produce for the community. That’s why we’re proud to be part of the California Market Match Consortium dedicated to making locally grown fruits and vegetables more affordable for CalFresh (food stamp) recipients. Along with the Market Match program where PCFMA-operated farmers’ markets accept EBT cards and match your funds up to an additional $10 per farmers’ market visit, we are also accepting the current Pandemic EBT Card at the markets. Use it as you would an EBT card for the same matching funds.
We need your help to continue these programs. The extent of the need in the Bay Area due to the pandemic is so great that PCFMA’s funding for Market Match may not last until the end of the year. You can help to sustain this essential program with your donation. Every $10 you donate supports a Market Match benefit for a local family in need. Follow us on Facebook at PCFMA to learn more. We have partnered with FoodEd for this fundraising effort.
In season now: The Martinez Farmers Market offers corn from G&S Farms in Brentwood, stone fruit from Resendiz Farms and J&J Ramos Farms, both of Hughson, and melons from Guzman Farms out of Denair. Watch for sweet grapes to arrive soon !
Farmers markets continue to be an essential part of our local food system and while safety guidelines remain in place we will continue to offer an outlet for farmers, customers, and the community to enjoy fresh local produce. We thank you for supporting your local farmers market because you, the community, are an essential part of our local food system. Your support keeps our farmers’ markets running and our farmers farming !