Gila Valley Farmers Market receives $15,000 grant to support mission of Gila Valley Food Coalition

Contributed Photo: The Gila Valley Farmers Market will use the grant funds to grow the market and promote Gila Valley grown food.

Contributed Article

SAFFORD – The Graham County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that the Gila Valley Farmers Market has received $15,000 as part of a grant from the United Way of Graham and Greenlee Counties. This grant is part of a larger effort by the Gila Valley Food Coalition in partnership with the Local First Arizona Foundation to assist food producers and consumers access healthy, locally produced food. Access to healthy, local food is foundational to our community’s sense of place, health, and well-being, and growth of all of our independent businesses.

Contributed Photo: Fresh produce is shown available at the Gila Valley Farmers Market.

The Gila Valley Farmers Market will use these funds to continue to grow the market, increase the capacity of market managers, enable Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries to purchase healthy, local food, and to find and promote food that is “Gila Valley Grown” to new markets. The Chamber’s Buy Local Committee, chaired by Vaughn Grant of Country Financial oversees the expenditure of these funds.

An example of some of the technical assistance that will be provided in this initiative includes the  “Start a Farmers Market Business During the Pandemic,” webinar that the Chamber hosted with support from Local First Arizona’s “Good Food Finder” and the Eastern Arizona College Small Business Development Center as well as support from the Flinn Foundation, which featured Carter’s Custom Cuts owner, Bryce Carter, as a speaker. The webinar provided an introduction to Cottage Food Laws, Food Safety considerations, and Food Costing to help business owners form the foundation of potential business models.

The Chamber proudly continues their collaboration with the United Way of Graham and Greenlee Counties, the city of Safford, the town of Thatcher, the town of Pima, Graham County, Local First Arizona, Good Food Finder, Eastern Arizona College Small Business Development Center, Kempton Chevrolet, Our Neighbors Farm and Pantry, and the Gila Valley Ministerial Association to develop markets for healthy, local food, feed the most vulnerable members of our community and support business owners as they start and grow their businesses.

The Gila Valley Farmers Market is located at 1051 W. Thatcher Blvd. in Safford. The operating hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. If you are interested in learning more about the market contact Kay Marchione 928-428-2511 or kay@graham-chamber.com.

To view a recording of the “Start a Farmers Market Business During the Pandemic” Webinar click the following link:

https://www.goodfoodfinderaz.com/news/2020/5/11/start-a-farmers-market-business-during-the-pandemic

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