Drive around Jefferson County and you will see evidence of agricultural production. But, where can you buy locally-grown and made products? Later this month a new program launches to help make it easier to find and buy such products.
“We’re looking for as many participants as possible, as long as they meet program requirements,” said Ryan Snyder, Agriculture Development Coordinator for the Jefferson County Development Authority (JCDA).
Snyder led the JCDA’s efforts to win funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the new Agriculture at Home: Jefferson County program. Snyder and team are using the federal funds to develop branding for locally-grown and produced products (see image, right). They are also creating printed marketing materials, a website, and a mobile app.
The economic, health, and social benefits of locally-grown foods and food products are well documented. Buying local keeps 65% of each dollar in the community compared to buying in large chain stores. Local foods are fresh and less likely to be heavily processed. Relationships between buyers and producers promote community cohesion and resilience.
To participate in the new program, producers must apply, meet certain requirements, and then self-certify annually. Once approved, participants will be able to display the new “Jefferson County WV Grown” and “Jefferson County WV Made” logos. The JCDA also plans to publish lists and maps showing participating producers, including those who accept SNAP benefits.
The JCDA team will attend the April 29 Charles Town Farmers Market to display and distribute information about the new Agriculture at Home program. Additional information will be available online at JCDA.net.By Staff Contributor