Our Mission:

Support farmers markets through education initiatives, while building opportunities for collaboration, networking, advocacy, and innovation that supports the growth and sustainability of farmers markets statewide.

Our Story…

A small group of Virginia farmers market managers began meeting in 2010 on a semi-regular basis to strategize ways to best support the growing numbers of farmers markets throughout Virginia.

They quickly realized the enormous value of simply getting together; they could share experience, pool resources, brainstorm ideas, and learn from one another! This sparked the idea to form a farmers market managers’ association to support the educational needs of market managers in Virginia.

A Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) grant, Sustaining Virginia Farmers Markets: Establishing a Support Network for Virginia Farmers Market Managers, was submitted and awarded in the fall of 2011! The FMPP grant helped establish the Virginia Farmers Market Managers Association (VFMMA) to support the educational and professional development needs of farmers market managers, developed the beginnings of a centralized website, and increased EBT/SNAP opportunities at farmers markets. In the fall of 2012, a needs assessment was conducted among market managers, and in 2013, the association held its first annual farmers market conference. By October 2013, the Virginia Farmers Market Managers Association (VFMMA) was officially registered in the state of Virginia.

So…..you may be wondering why our name has changed since then?

In 2014, in partnership with VDACS’ Virginia Grown Program, VFMMA co-hosted the second annual farmers market conference which drew over 100 market managers from across the state. VFMMA established a steering committee out of this conference and in 2015 a group of about a dozen market managers decided the scope of the association was much broader than just supporting market managers. A unanimous decision was made to change the name to the now Virginia Farmers Market Association (VAFMA) with recognition that farmers, vendors, customers, and organizations all play a critical role in the success and sustainability of farmers markets.

In 2015, VAFMA hosted its third annual conference, Collaborate & Celebrate, continuing to build momentum and gaining valuable volunteers. VAFMA is currently developing regional associations across the state, as well as professional development workshops, such as SNAP/EBT training sessions, so market managers can work together on matters of mutual interest. We are currently partnering with Virginia Cooperative Extension in developing a Farmers Market Manager Certification program to provide the farmers market managers of Virginia with the best tools available to operate their markets. We hope to launch this new program in 2017-2018.

VAFMA continues to gain momentum as a volunteer-run organization, and we’ve galvanized new energy from the official Board of Directors. It’s an exciting (and busy) time to get involved with the VAFMA. If you’d like to participate in the development of YOUR statewide association of farmers markets, please contact us at info@vafma.org.

We work together to cultivate vibrant and sustainable farmers market communities across Virginia. 

Virginia Farmers Market Association looks forward to working with and supporting your farmers market!

JOIN TODAY!

EMILIE TYDINGS | Interim PRESIDENT

Emilie Tydings is in her fourth year serving as Volunteer Market Manager of the Community Farmers Market of Blacksburg. Her love of local foods stems from growing up on the family farm and following her grandfather around as a young child. She has been involved with farmers markets for over 20 years as a volunteer, a vendor, and a market manager, and works closely with local municipalities to expand local farming & local food access. Her full-time job is as a Faculty Instructor at Virginia Tech in Communication. Emilie holds a Masters Degree in Corporate and Professional Communication from Radford and a B.A. in Communication from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is experienced in Public Relations & Marketing and is excited at helping VAFMA increase awareness and build sustainable relationships among Virginia farmers markets.

Emilie serves on the Communication, Conference, Foundation/Development, & Governance committees. Email Emilie at President@vafma.org

CeCe DODD | Interim VICE PRESIDENT & SHENANDOAH REGION

CeCe Dodd began managing the Broadway Farmers Market in the Fall of 2014 after being a vendor for six years. She is the Executive director for the Broadway Hometown Partnership, helping coordinate community events and festivals. During the week Cece works in Public Safety Administration and spends her weekends pursuing food and community passions. CeCe joined VAFMA in 2014 and became regional lead for the Shenandoah Valley Markets in 2015.

CeCe serves on the Conference, Communication, and Programs Committees. Email CeCe at Shenandoah@vafma.org or Vice-president@vafma.org

LISA DEARDEN | TREASURER

Lisa Dearden had over 20+ years experience in sales, marketing, finance and training when she switched gears and pursued her A.A.S. Horticulture with a focus on sustainable agriculture.  She now lives on a homestead farm in Goochland County, Virginia where she grows fruits and berries and raises chickens, goats, rabbits, alpacas and llamas.  Her company, ChiknEGG Productions, operates an incubator kitchen called the Cook ‘N Nook, which is available for rent by-the-hour, and she offers training and consulting services to food entrepreneurs and organizations looking for help navigating their entry into the local food system.  She founded and serves as Executive Director of a non-profit called RVAg that operates multiple farmers markets and provides low-cost/no-cost ag-centered educational programs. Lisa currently serves as Vice Chair of the Goochland County Economic Development Authority and as the Treasurer of the Virginia Farmers Market Association.  She frequently works as a consultant to help municipalities start and grow farmers markets of their own.

Lisa serves on the Foundation/Development, Governance, Budget, & Conference committees. Email Lisa at Treasurer@vafma.org

MEREDITH LEDLIE JOHNSON | SECRETARY

Meredith Ledlie Johnson manages the Food Access and Availability Initiative for Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Family Nutrition Program. This program is designed to ensure that all Virginians have access to enough healthy, culturally appropriate food in their communities through increasing access to farmers markets, gardening, and healthy retail outlets. Meredith holds a Masters degree in Social Work with a concentration in community organizing from Hunter College, CUNY. Before living in Virginia, Meredith worked as a farmers market manager for Greenmarket in New York City and as an urban park advocate with New Yorkers for Parks. Meredith is excited by the possibilities offered by the local food movement to strengthen the resiliency of Virginia’s families and communities.

Meredith serves on the Programs & Conference committees. Email Meredith at Secretary@vafma.org

VACANT| NORTHERN VIRGINIA REGION

The NOVA Board position is currently vacant. We seek an active farmers market manager OR regional lead in the NOVA area to join our board. If you are interested or know someone who might be, please contact our board president at president@vafma.org OR info@vafma.org for more info.

Email   NoVa@vafma.org

ELIZABETH BORST | CENTRAL REGION

Elizabeth Borst is an experienced Farmers Market Manager and SNAP EBT Program Director, piloting one of the first successful nutrition incentive programs in Virginia at the Spotsylvania Farmers Market. As a Wholesome Wave partner, she has worked to proliferate SNAP redemption at farmers markets in the Fredericksburg region and at the state and national level. Elizabeth is formerly Market Manager of the largest market in the region. She worked to form The Farmers Market.Co, a regional market network, to increase fresh food access throughout the community. She has provided statewide SNAP EBT training and consultation, and has started new markets to build local food sales and new programs to increase fresh food access. Elizabeth had a prior career in development, marketing and communications with companies such as Verizon and AT&T. She holds a BA in Public Policy Analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Elizabeth serves on the EBT/SNAP Programs committee. Email Elizabeth at Central@vafma.org

VACANT | BLUE RIDGE REGION

The Blue Ridge Regional Board position is currently vacant. We seek an active farmers market manager OR regional lead in the NOVA area to join our board. If you are interested or know someone who might be, please contact our board president at president@vafma.org OR info@vafma.org for more info.

Email BlueRidge@vafma.org

VACANT | SOUTHWEST REGION

The Southwest Regional Board position is currently vacant. We seek an active farmers market manager OR regional lead in the NOVA area to join our board. If you are interested or know someone who might be, please contact our board president at president@vafma.org OR info@vafma.org for more info.

Email Southwest@vafma.org

TRACY HERNER | TIDEWATER REGION

Tracy Herner is in her fourth season as market manager and executive director of the Williamsburg Farmers Market.  She was instrumental in launching the token program at the market, and is an advocate for increasing access to farmers markets throughout the Commonwealth.  The Williamsburg Farmers Market was one of nine markets to participate in Market Metrics Research, and Tracy is looking forward to using her experiences with data collection to improve capacity at markets across the Tidewater Region.

Tracy serves on the Conference, Membership, Communication, Budget, Governance and Programs Committees. Email Tracy at Tidewater@vafma.org

 

KENNY PORZIO | SOUTHSIDE REGION

Kenneth Porzio manages the Danville Farmers’ Market in Danville, VA for the City of Danville Parks and Recreation Department. He is a graduate of Averett University and started with the City in 2014. The Danville Market is a downtown fixture moving to its current location at 629 Craghead Street in 1996. A converted railroad freight depot built in 1904 provides a rustic and historic home for the market. SNAP is currently accepted as well as a grant funded double bucks program. The market averages 50 vendors a week and runs every Saturday May-October 7:30 a.m.-12 p.m. and Wednesdays in July and August 3 p.m.-6 p.m. The market also accepts Senior and WIC vouchers. It is a Growers only market accepting vendors selling crafts, wines, honey, meats, baked goods, produce, and personal care products within a 90-mile radius.

Kenny serves on the Membership committee. Email Kenny at Southside@vafma.org

KIM USRY | CAPITAL AREA REGION

Kim Usry is a Richmond Virginia native who grew up spending her weekends on her grandfather’s black Angus farm. After college in Florida studying Mass Communications, and a stint in California obtaining a certificate in Advertising Arts and Design, she returned to Virginia to manage that same farm for 15 years while working in public relations & advertising. She successfully pursued IT Project Management which led to IT Recruitment. Kim is an entrepreneur at heart and now managers two Richmond farmers markets and owns and operates a rainwater harvesting company. She loves her dogs, gardening, beekeeping, cooking and relaxing. Kim also participates with the Capital Area Farmers Market Association.

 

Email Kim at CapitalArea@vafma.org

VAFMA Objectives

  1. Build and connect a robust and effective network of farmers markets statewide.
  2. Demonstrate collective impact of Virginia farmers markets through common data collection.
  3. Advance FM managers professionally  to increase their capacity and impact in communities.
  4. Advance value of farmers markets to communities by increasing access to food.
  5. Advocate on behalf of and build capacity for farmers markets in Virginia.

Accomplishments

  • Partnered with Farmers Market Coalition on an FMPP Grant project through 2019.
  • Launching our Market Manager Certification Program February 4, 2017.
  • Reached over 85 market managers at the 2016 farmers market conference in Williamsburg.

Frequently Asked Questions

Great question! VAFMA is a volunteer-based organization dedicated to helping strengthen and sustain all farmers markets in Virginia. Your member support helps us sustain our operations and helps cover VAFMA’s basic expenses.
We are excited to announce the 2016 farmers market conference titled “Sow Stories, Harvest Success” is November 9 & 10 in Williamsburg, VA!
You can become a member of VAFMA, volunteer for one of several committees, and/or donate to VAFMA and help support our ongoing efforts.