Virtual farmers’ market coming soon to Martinsville-Henry County

Fresh fruits and vegetables are pictured at the Uptown Martinsville Farmers’ Market. Fresh fruits and vegetables are pictured at the Uptown Martinsville Farmers’ Market.

The Harvest Foundation provided a $15,000 Pick Up the Pace! grant to the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce’s Partnership for Economic Growth (C-PEG) to open a virtual farmers’ market for local patrons. It will be open for shopping starting July 12 for the first market pick up on July 18 with goods available for purchase online.

“Our partnership with the Chamber of Commerce to pilot a Virtual Farmer’s Market exhibits our continued interest in keeping the Martinsville-Henry County community healthy,” said India Brown, Harvest Foundation program officer. “There are many people who want to eat locally and support local farmers and producers, but the pandemic has made it more challenging. The virtual farmers’ market will provide an additional way for the community to access healthy local foods. It also provides a nontraditional method to support local farmers and producers who often rely on the traditional farmers’ market to sell goods.”

Kimberly Keller, uptown entrepreneurial development manager for C-PEG, said as a result of COVID-19, the Uptown Farmers’ Market was not easily accessible to individuals within the community who are high-risk or not comfortable going out in public to shop at this time.

“The public needed a safe option to shop for goods while our vendors needed a safe method to sell,” Keller added. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to implement a virtual farmers’ market, and to work with Harvest Foundation to eliminate issues regarding safety concerns and access to the market during this time.”

Keller said while they welcome customers to shop at the market onsite, they are encouraging customers to take extra precautions and place their orders online and pick up at the market to remain safe and well. The virtual farmers’ market will make the online shopping experience easier, Keller said, as customers can shop with multiple vendors at one site and pay by checking out one time versus with each vendor.

Customers can access the virtual farmers’ market by visiting martinsvillefarmersmarket.com with shopping starting July 12 for the first market pick up on July 18.

“Online shopping is the way most people prefer to shop in this day and age,” said Taylor Robertson, 2020 season manager for the Uptown Farmers’ Market. “We hope to reach a whole new base of customers with this addition who will have access to locally-grown and created food. It’s a win-win situation!”

To find out more about the virtual farmers’ market, visit martinsvillefarmersmarket.com or call (276) 632-5688.

The Harvest Foundation’s Pick Up the Pace! grants program is a competitive, small grants program designed to engage people and organizations in sparking innovative ideas, collaborations and change in Martinsville and Henry County. These six-month grants are available for application year-round. Due to changes from COVID-19, grants up to $15,000 will now be considered. To find out more, visit www.theharvestfoundation.org or call (276) 632-3329.