The Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District is proud to support to our local farmers markets with its 2020 Farmers Markets Support Grants. Clackamas County farmers markets are well represented in both rural and urban parts of our District and provide their communities with locally grown, produced, and crafted agricultural and forestry products. Visit your local market soon!
How Does the District Support Farmers Markets?
On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Directors unanimously approved farmers market partnership support grants totaling $25,000. These grants will be distributed to seven farmers markets within the District’s boundaries when they are up and going for business this spring.
Farmers Markets During Covid-19: A New Way to Shop
Markets this year face an unusual challenge. Additional hygiene requirements, social distancing, and the limiting of groups and even families at any type of gathering has brought out the creative genius in our market community. Farmers markets have been designated an essential service and they are coming up with innovative ways to serve you. Some are even suggesting that farmers markets might be the safest bet for food shopping during the corona virus pandemic.
This year, the District has encouraged markets who choose to open to use their grant to best support their market during the pandemic. Markets have enthusiastically pivoted to use their funds to:
- Provide matching funds for participants in Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and the Farm Direct Nutrition Program.
- Purchase sanitation stations
- Supplement booth fees to compensate for lost farmer income
- Support and implement mobile apps for pre-purchase and payment of produce
- Create new signage and advertising that reflect new rules and procedures
In past years, this support funding was used by markets to:
- Provide free, weekly tokens to children who participate in Power of Produce (POP) Clubs or other programs that support children’s agricultural education. This money goes directly to producers who sell fruits and vegetables or plants that produce fruits and vegetables.
- Enable markets to offer matching or bonus funds for participants in Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and the Farm Direct Nutrition Program. These matching funds can only be used to purchase local produce, which in turn helps farmers be more profitable.
- Offer sustainability education and new business incubator programs.
- Create signage and other promotional materials to advertise and promote individual markets.
The District provides informational brochures for the markets to share with their patrons, promotes the markets via social media, and visits each market to talk directly with customers and vendors about a wide variety of conservation issues. In years past, the District had an informational display at markets to share the different programs it offers to our local community, but this year markets are limiting their booths to only those producers selling food products.
Why Does the District Support Farmers Markets?
Farmers markets provide valuable points of sale for local agricultural producers, increasing their economic success. Financially successful farmers have an increased ability to conserve water and soil resources and to maintain healthy habitat. Success also helps them keep their land in agricultural production now and into the future. That’s good for the farm, native wildlife, water quality, and you!
Additionally, farmers markets are well-positioned to provide food, farm, and natural resource education to adults and children. Learning about the value of nutritious, fresh, and healthy whole foods is good for public health, our agricultural producers, and our environment.
2020 Farmers Market Grants
Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District will provide partnership grant awards to the following markets upon opening for the 2020 season:
- Canby Farmers Market
- Lake Oswego Farmers Market
- Milwaukie Sunday Farmers Market
- Molalla Farmers Market
- Mt. Hood Farmers Market
- Oregon City Year-Round Farmers Market
- Redland Grange Farmers Market – NEW!
Other farmers markets in Clackamas County which did not choose to participate in our partnership support grant program this year include:
- Estacada Farmers Market
- Happy Valley Farmers Market
- Hoodland Farmers Market
- West Linn Farmers Market
- Wilsonville Farmers Market
For more information about the Clackamas SWCD Farmers Market Support Grant Program, please contact Cathy McQueeney at 503-210-6012.