Farmers face economic turmoil following pandemic
ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The pandemic, rising gas prices, and supply chain demand have affected many local vendors. National Farmers’ Market week is an opportunity to show how much value vendors bring to our hometowns.
Four years ago, a Roanoke City resident quit film to become a farmer. Cam Terry made a film that changed his mind about the food system, putting down his camera for a shovel.
“I started growing food in my backyard just for myself and for friends and families,” said Terry. “And after of 5 or 6 years of doing that I realize how rewarding that was, that process of growing food and sharing it with people you love, and I figure it might make a way for me to make a living.”
Terry puts vegetables together for the weekly Grandin Village Farmers Market.
“We grow 40 different varieties of vegetables throughout the year,” added Terry.
During the pandemic, many turned to farming as a hobby. Terry says supply chains were unable to keep up with demand for seeds. Prices increased and haven’t gone down since.
“Commercial growers are having to pick different varieties for the time being until some of that demand relaxes in the market,” explained Terry.
The Grandin Village Farmers Market sparked the creation of LEAP. LEAP Director of Marketing Christina Nifong said increasing gas and feed prices, inflation, and the pandemic took a toll on farmers.
“Most of the vendors here I think are doing everything they can to not pass that cost along to the customers or to do it as gentle way as possible,” said Nifong.
LEAP has multiple farmers’ markets encouraging sustainability and access to local food. They are trying to be a solution for these same issues.
“Families that are on SNAP, WIC and Medicaid can show up at a farmers’ market, all the LEAP markets and many other markets, 100 other outlets in the state,” added Nifong. “And money that they use of their SNAP card is doubled. So, we are helping people stretch their budgets on healthy food.”
The Grandin Village Farmers’ Market is every Saturday until mid-November.
Copyright 2022 WDBJ. All rights reserved.