West Virginia is recognized nationally as a leader in farm-to-school. The West Virginia Department of Agriculture and the West Virginia Department of Education – as well as non-profits and community members have dedicated this priority for over a decade to connect West Virginia producers with schools to increase locally sourced products in school nutrition programs. West Virginia has over 20,000 farms, over thirty farmer markets and several brick and mortar stores offering a variety of locally grown and raised food available to you.
In 2019, the Fresh Food Act was signed into law requiring all state funded institutions, including West Virginia schools, to purchase a minimum of five percent of its food from in state producers and support West Virginia farms. To find a West Virginia farm near you, please contact your local county extension agent here.
We dedicate this space to encourage recipients of WV P-EBT to consider supporting West Virginia businesses and farmers.
SNAP Stretch is a program that doubles and triples SNAP/EBT/P-EBT dollars at West Virginia farmers markets, roadside stands, mobile markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), and even a few brick and mortar stores. Families with children present at the market can earn a 1:2 match for their SNAP/EBT/P-EBT purchase of fruits and vegetables in order to purchase more fruits and vegetables. For example, if a family with children spend $20 in SNAP/EBT/P-EBT on fruits and vegetables, they would earn an additional $40 to be spent on fruit and vegetables.
To learn more about the program and its availability in 2021, click here, or to read the FAQ click here! You can also find the market that is closest to you by visiting here.
How to Incorporate Local Food into your Family Menu
West Virginia farms grow a variety of produce throughout the year. Various fruits, root vegetables, leafy greens, and garden favorites are available from a local farm and/or market near you. Farms in West Virginia offer field-grown produce, hydroponically grown produce, and more allowing a great variety available any time of the year – relevant to your location. Need some ideas on ways to cook your local food? Click here to see a plethora of recipes with many that encompass a number of locally grown West Virginia foods. The recipes range from using your favorite classic garden staples to using less familiar foods that could soon become a new family staple at your table. For more recipes, including seasonal friendly ingredients, guidelines for choosing the best quality fruit and vegetables, and information on how to properly prepare your produce, click here and refer to the Farmers’ Market Cookbook.
Information for Producers
If you would like to learn more about connecting with school nutrition programs, please contact:
WVU Extension Small Farm Center
WVU Extension Service experts know West Virginia farms are unique. With advice that is sized “just right” for all our producers, there is something for budding farmers who want to sell at their local farmers market all the way up to large-scale poultry farmers who want to increase efficiency.
We work to build the local food and agriculture system in West Virginia in a way that provides viable incomes for farmers and local foods businesses and ensures all residents have access to locally produced food.