The Christiansburg Farmers Market may soon have an influx of funds from the federal government.
Last month, Christiansburg was one of 27 communities nationwide selected to be part of the federal Local Foods, Local Places initiative and is scheduled to receive a $20,000 grant to be used for its recently established market.
Assistant Town Manager Randy Wingfield said this week prior to the money being sent, a steering committee for its usage must be formed, public input meetings held and an action plan developed. He expects the process to be complete by late spring or early summer.
Wingfield said the money could be used for such things as a market structure or advertising for the market. Currently the market, which is held on Hickok Street on Thursday evenings from May through October, has no physical structure, and its advertising is limited to the town website, social media sites and a newsletter.
Launched in 2014, Local Foods, Local Places is a partnership of the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority, as well as an initiative of the White House Rural Council’s Rural Impact.
“Local Foods, Local Places helps people access healthy local food and supports new businesses in neighborhoods that need investment,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a news release.
Christiansburg was the only Virginia location selected and its grant should be used for “funding and marketing strategies to expand its newly established farmers market, find a permanent location for the market, and attract more shops and restaurants downtown,” according to the release.
When the Christiansburg market launched last spring, Wingfield estimated it was greeted with 3,000 to 4,000 visitors on opening night. In December a special market held in conjunction with the town’s Christmas parade drew between 5,000 and 6,000 visitors and featured 62 vendors, he said.
“In general, the market was pretty successful,” Wingfield said.