August 2019 Newsletter

Aug 5, 2019 by

Virginia is for Farmers Market Lovers!
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Happy Farmers Market Week!

LEAP is joining markets across the country in celebrating National Farmers Market Week from August 4-10, 2019!

As demand for local food continues to grow, so too have the opportunities for America’s farmers to market fresh food directly to the consumer. According to statistics recently released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), farmers markets and farm stands account for roughly $2 billion of the $3 billion that Americans spend annually on farm-direct products. This revenue, in turn, supports the livelihoods of more than 165,000 mostly small and mid-sized farms and ranches.

Virginia is home to more than 275 farmers markets, a 212% increase since 2006, including at least 9 in the Roanoke Valley. Increasingly, farmers markets have become fresh food mainstays for shoppers from all socio-economic, political, and ethnic backgrounds. Now more than ever, farmers markets serve as community anchors, positively influencing community health and creating economic opportunities. Markets strengthen regional economies and local businesses, increase access to fresh, nutritious food, and build social networks that help keep communities healthy.

LEAP markets were founded in 2009, beginning with the Grandin Village Farmers Market, and currently host over 30 farmers and food producers selling a wide variety of products, including fresh produce, meat, eggs, dairy, baked goods, prepared foods, artisan goods, and much more. In the 2018 market season, LEAP markets generated over $328,000 in total sales for these local businesses, a valuable economic boost for the region.

All LEAP markets offer Healthy Food Incentives, such as our popular SNAP Double Value program, which make fresh food accessible and affordable to everyone in our community. In 2018, low-income shoppers at LEAP markets redeemed over $32,000 in Healthy Food Incentives, boosting food security rates in our community and channeling federal dollars into our region’s economy. In the words of one market shopper and program participant, “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.”

“Farmers markets generate real income for farmers and help create prosperous, and resilient local food systems” says Maureen Best, LEAP’s Director of Strategic Planning. “In the Roanoke Valley, we are fortunate to have great farmers markets, amazing farmers and food producers, and dedicated customers. Farmers Markets make a difference—they provide the opportunity for farmers and consumers to connect directly—to learn from each other, share stories, swap recipes, and create long-lasting relationships. Farmers markets build healthy and vibrant communities.”

Farmers Market Week Celebration @ Grandin Market!

In acknowledgement of Farmers Market Week, the Grandin Village Farmers Market will be holding a special celebration event on August 10 from 8am to 12 noon.

In addition to our regular slate of local farmers and food producers with a wide array of food and crafts, we’ll also have kids’ activities, live music, and brunch cocktails!

From 9:00 to 11:00, enjoy live music by the sensational Jordan Fallon. Our kids’ program, “Market Sprouts”, will be all about flowers this month; kids can make a floral arrangement (and, if they like, give them as a ‘thank you’ to a farmer), and even taste some edible flowers! Participating kids receive $2 in Market Sprout bucks to buy fruits and vegetables at market. And for our monthly “Zucchinis and Bellinis” event, Fortunato restaurant will be serving two brunch-style cocktails for you to enjoy as you shop from your local farmers.

At this event and throughout the week, all patrons are encouraged to participate on social media using #FarmersMarketWeek to share why you appreciate farmers markets and what they mean to you. Get out to your market, support your farmers, and share your experience! Use #LoveMyMarket and join the community of market goers at their local farmers markets. Keep an eye out for I Heart Farmers Market temporary tattoos and stickers for the perfect Instagram photo op! Educate others! Use #WhyFarmersMarkets to share why it is so important to shop directly from local farmers. Help us get these hashtags trending!

RSVP and help us spread the word via the Facebook event page!

August Mobile Market special events schedule

In addition to our 11 regular weekly stops, the LEAP Mobile Market will be at a handful of additional special stops this month! Come see us at the following fresh events!
  • Tomorrow, from 6 to 8pm, we’ll be visiting Northwest Neighborhood Environmental Organization (NNEO) for their National Night Out celebration, being held at Loudon Park (827 Loudon Ave NW). National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie. Come on out and join the residents of Loudon Avenue for food, fellowship, and resource information provided by local non-profit organizations that serve our community.
  • This Friday, 8/9, from 1:30 til 2:30, as part of our #FarmersMarketWeek festivities, we’ll be paying a special visit to the Feeding America Southwest Virginia Community Solutions Center, located at  2328 Melrose Ave NW, Roanoke, VA 24017! Facebook event page
  • Next Friday, 8/16, we’ll be at our sponsor Freedom First Credit Union‘s Corporate Office (5240 Valleypark Drive, near the DMV off Peter’s Creek Rd) from 12:30-2pm.
  • The following two Fridays, 8/23 and 8/30, the Mobile Market will NOT be in operation, as TAP Head Start observes its two-week summer vacation. Facebook event page
You can always view our full calendar of regular weekly and special one-off stops at our website.

Market Sprouts at West End Farmers Market

For the past 6 weeks, Virginia Cooperative Extension has been leading a cooking class with kids who have qualified for the summer program at the West End Center for Youth. Each week, 6 students between 3rd-5th grade have come to the West End Farmers Market on Tuesday to cook a recipe using ingredients from the farmers market and learn about agriculture and nutrition. The students in the picture above learned from Cameron Terry of Garden Variety Harvests about his farming business, then got busy preparing a meal with his freshly-harvested potatoes, corn, and kale. At the end of class, students enjoy the fruits of their labor and have samples for the adult who picks them up. Parents receive a recipe to take home and a voucher for that week’s seasonal ingredient to shop for at the market right then and there!
Our goal is to expose kids to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and different ways to prepare them, and to expose parents to the market, our incentive programs, and local healthy foods!

Adventure Meal Prep w/ PLAY Roanoke @ Grandin Market 8/24

Whether you’re a hiker, biker, paddler, or other adventurer, eating well on your trip is important. In this show and tell session at the Grandin Village Farmers Market, you’ll learn about several different outdoor stoves you can use, as well as recipe ideas for preparing the food you need to fuel your adventure. We’ll focus on using local and fresh ingredients. Pre-registration is not required, just come to the Farmers Market! FREE! Thanks to PLAY Roanoke for hosting. Check out the Facebook event page to RSVP and share widely!

Great Gatsby Night presented by Sisters of Change to benefit LEAP

“Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!” -F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.
Come out to Blue 5 on Friday, August 16 from 7:30 to 11pm for a night of live music, dancing, food and drinks – while dressed in your favorite 1920’s fashion. Heavy hors-d’oeuvres and a drink included with each ticket purchase. Prize for best dressed! Event organizers Sisters of Change have selected LEAP as the beneficiary of the evening’s silent auction, so come out, have a ball, and bid often on the great slate of auction items – all proceeds will help LEAP meet our mission and ensure everyone in our community has equitable access to healthy, quality food!
Facebook event page  |  Tickets by Eventbrite

Summertime bounty keeps on rollin’!
Our neighborhood market, now in its 11th year, is really in full swing, with a full array of the tastes of summer. If you haven’t been a regular shopper this season, make a Saturday morning market run a part of your routine – you’ll be enjoying the freshest, most quality food available, from farmers and food producers you can trust. And if you’re already a regular, please consider using Farmers Market Week as an excuse to tell your friends and family why you love the market, and encourage them to become regular shoppers.
 Follow GVFM on Facebook!
Fresh Food in the West End
If you haven’t been to the West End on a recent Tuesday, you’ll be excited to see all the great new vendors and fresh flavors we feature each week. From Blacksburg Bagels with pretzels, pizza dough, & more, to the Professor’s Garden‘s epic tomato harvest, to hickory-smoked pulled pork barbecue by Smokin’ Pig BBQ truck, not to mention kids’ programs, recipe demos, hand-crafted artisan goods, and much more, we’ve got all you need for a mid-week re-stock on fresh-from-the-farm fare!
 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

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