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Local facility a model market

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By The Gazette

The Southwest Virginia Farmers Market has been a main focus of Carroll County for years.
This has obviously paid off, judging from the reaction it got from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials when they visited the Twin Counties earlier this month.
Nothing but good things were heard about the market on June 17, when the group took a tour of the main market and the cannery.
Since it began in the early 1990s, the market has expanded significantly, and now generates between $20 and $30 million in revenue each year.
After the tour, the group announced that $650,000 in funding and technical assistance will be provided by a new program supported by the USDA, EPA and other federal agencies. They chose the Southwest Virginia Farmers Market as the place to make this announcement because it has become “a model for other markets” in the area.
Other areas of the Twin Counties, including Independence and Galax, have jump-started their own farmers’ markets. The Galax site has been revitalized and Independence, while still fairly young, is a major success. The program is tailored to markets like these specifically, in the hopes that more success stories will be generated, like the Southwest Virginia Farmers Market.
One official stated that these markets become successful by tailoring to their localities, which should give the other smaller markets in this area a lot to be excited about. With some help from this program, there is no doubt that these markets can come up with new, unique ways of serving healthy, home-grown food to the community.