August 2018 Newsletter

Aug 29, 2018 by

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Celebrating farmers markets & their impacts on our community

LEAP Markets celebrate Farmers Market Week!

National Farmers Market Week runs from August 5-11th, 2018, and in celebration, LEAP farmers markets are holding three special events:
  • The West End Farmers Market (1210 Patterson Ave SW Roanoke, in the covered pavilion behind the Freedom First Credit Union West End branch) is holding a kickoff party at 4:00 PM on Tuesday, August 7, highlighted by a proclamation of Roanoke Farmers Market Week
  • The LEAP Mobile Market will recognize National Farmers Market Week at New Horizons Healthcare (3716 Melrose Ave. NW) on Wednesday, August 8 at 5:00
  • As a culmination of the week’s festivities, we’ll be holding a Farmers Market Week Celebration at the Grandin Village Farmers Market (2080 Westover Ave. SW Roanoke) on Saturday, August 11 at 10:00 AM.
All of these events will feature our regular lineup of local farmer friends, our dedicated shoppers and supporters, and the community of Roanokers who support their local economy, access to nutritious food and a healthy community, and preserving farmland. In addition to locally-grown foods, we’ll also have remarks from elected leaders and dignitaries, nutrition education, live music, contests, prizes, and much more.
Increasingly, farmers markets have become fresh food mainstays for shoppers across all socio-economic, political, and ethnic ranges. Now more than ever, farmers markets serve as community anchors, positively influencing community health and wealth. Markets strengthen regional economies and local businesses, increase access to fresh, nutritious food, and build social networks that help keep communities healthy.
To ensure healthy food is accessible as well as affordable to everyone in our community, all LEAP markets, and in fact all markets in Roanoke City, accept and double SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps) through their membership in the Virginia Fresh Match statewide nutrition incentive network (see more details below). LEAP also provides additional nutrition incentives for Medicaid members, parents of children in Head Start, low-income seniors, and qualifying patients of diet-related diseases. Perhaps the impact of our markets can best be summarized by an appreciative market shopper and healthy food incentive recipient: “I love supporting the local economy and providing my children with fresh, healthy foods!… And when you’re on a limited income, [nutrition incentives] help a lot.”

LEAP/Virginia Fresh Match receives USDA FINI grant

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue just announced $21 million in grants through the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program (FINI). LEAP, on behalf of the statewide Virginia Fresh Match network, is thrilled to announce that we received a $1.8 million FINI grant to support Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) incentives throughout the Commonwealth.
Virginia Fresh Match doubles the value of SNAP benefits spent at participating farmers markets. For example, a SNAP shopper uses $20 in SNAP benefits and gets an additional $20 to spend on fruits and vegetables. The 3-year federal FINI grant will support the continued development and growth of Virginia Fresh Match. This network brings together organizations all over the Commonwealth ranging from small farmers markets to large local food nonprofits. The network capitalizes on the expertise of community leaders and builds collaborations between farmers markets, retail grocery outlets, service providers, farmers, SNAP consumers, and community partners.
“Agriculture is Virginia’s leading industry, yet many families struggle to afford fresh fruits and vegetables needed for a healthy lifestyle. Applied as a food security strategy in many communities, accepting and doubling SNAP at farmers markets make fresh food more equitable and affordable. The FINI grant will support Virginia Fresh Match at participating farmers markets, expand incentives to additional markets, and provide opportunities to work with grocery retailers on incentive pilots,” said Maureen Best, LEAP Executive Director.
Virginia Fresh Match is a robust community of innovation and learning, linking farmers market-based incentive programs through uniform data collection and evaluation to support capacity and expansion of SNAP incentives since 2015. The Virginia Fresh Match network is co-led by two regional organizations: LEAP and Virginia Community Food Connections.

#LEAPmarkets Scavenger Hunt & #LoveMyMarket Photo Contest

Join the fun of National Farmers Market Week by participating in the LEAP Markets Scavenger Hunt and the national #LoveMyMarket photo contest! We’ll have a special farmers market-themed photo booth at the three special events listed above, so grab some friends, props, and temporary tattoos, snap some pics at market, and post them to win cool prizes!

Here’s how the LEAP Markets Scavenger Hunt works:Take 3 selfies throughout the week of August 6th – August 11th.
1) At the West End Farmers Market (Tuesday 3-6)
2) At any one of the LEAP Mobile Market stops (Tues-Thurs)
3) At the Grandin Village Farmers Market (Sat 8-12)

1. All 3 posts made to Facebook must include the hashtags  #leapmarketsand #lovemymarket and tag the appropriate market (@westendfarmersmarket, @leapmobilemarket, @grandinvillagefarmers market).

2. Each of these 3 post gains you 1 point each.

3. Within these 3 posts, ways to gain bonus points (1 point ea):
–Take a selfie with a farmer at market and tag them in the post
–Take a selfie with a friend who has never been to that market before and tag them in the post
–Take a selfie with something you bought a market and tag the producer in the post
–You, someone, or something in your selfie is sporting an “I💚Farmers Markets” temporary tattoo (tattoos will be available at all the markets next week)
–Whoever has the post with the most amount of “likes”

4. Whoever has the most points by the end of Grandin Market on August 11th will win a prize (stay tuned to our Facebook page for sneak peaks)!

The National Farmers Market Week #LoveMyMarket Photo Contest is all about the personal touch- the hands that grow your food, the faces that make up a community, and smiles that speak to the market’s purpose. See what all the fun and #marketlove is about!

It’s easy to enter:

  1. Take a photo of yourself, a farmer, shopper, puppy, baby, tomato – anyone or anything! – wearing an “I💚Farmers Markets” temporary tattoo (tattoos will be available at all the markets next week)
  2. Post the photo to Instagram with the hashtag #LoveMyMarket 

Contest opens August 1, 2018. Entry deadline is September 2, 2018.

Fun prizes (and bragging rights) will be awarded to the photographers AND markets featured in the winning photos. Winners will be announced September 2018.

Check out the 2017 and  2016 winners for inspiration!

Farmers Market Week Bike Crawl!

In celebration of Farmers Market Week, we’re partnering with Downshift Handcrafted Bikes & Brews and RIDE Solutions to bring you an AMAZING Saturday morning tour of our local Farmers Markets. Hop on your bike or rent a Zagster for this social ride! Don’t forget your bags, basket, or backpack.

The schedule of our ride is listed below including stops at the Grandin Village Farmers MarketThe WELL Farm Stand in historic Gainsboro, Roanoke Historic City Farmers Market, and the Vinton Farmers’ Market.

The route will feature unique parts of the Greenway including a new extension of the Tinker Creek Greenway and the protected bike lane on Williamson Road. FYI: We will also bike on some roads as a group. The route can be found here>

Total route is 16.69 miles (broken up), with limited elevation change. The allotted time for this event is based on a cycling speed of 10mph but is subject to change.

A special prize will be awarded to the rider who hauls the heaviest load all the way back to Downshift.

For more information and to RSVP, check out the Facebook event.
Peak-Season Abundance!
Thanks for everyone who participated in TomatoFest; we had a blast! Our celebration of Farmers Market Week is coming up on 8/11, and is part of the Farmers Market Bike Crawl (see above). Also, if you didn’t notice, we painted the overhead entry arch! As you’d expect this time of year, our vendors have an impressive assortment of the freshest produce around, and oh-so-much more!
 Follow GVFM on Facebook!
Fresh Food in the West End
Our next market on August 7 is shaping up to be quite the celebration! We’ll feature craft vendors, a photo booth and contests, we’ll have the vice-mayor on hand to officially proclaim August 5-11 as Roanoke Farmers Market Week, as well as all the fresh food you’ve come to expect from this West End community anchor institution. Also, Connie is back from vacation – come see her smiling face! See you Tuesday!
 Follow WEFM on Facebook!
Become a LEAP Community Partner! Support LEAP and snag some great deals at the Community Markets. LEAP Partnerships are open to businesses- let LEAP help promote the great work you do in the community!

Buy a LEAP Market Gift Certificate for a longtime market-goer or to introduce a friend to the market.

Want to volunteer with LEAP?  LEAP runs on community support. Let us know if you have a special skill you’d love to share!

Have a question? Email Maureen at

Donate to LEAP
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