Local leaders in Christiansburg held a community input meeting on Thursday to collect ideas about improvements to the town farmers’ market.
The meeting was part of Christiansburg’s Local Foods, Local Places Workshop. The town earned a $20,000 Local Foods, Local Places federal grant to bring improvements to the Christiansburg Farmers’ Market, according to town officials.
Bruce Caldwell of Cavalier Farm said the Christiansburg Farmers’ Market is one of his most profitable farmers’ markets.
“It’s the second-best market that we do – last year, anyway, when I looked at all the numbers on a day-per-day basis,” he said.
But farmers like Caldwell admitted there could be some ways to make the farmers’ market better. He suggested building a permanent structure, which was one of several ideas being discussed at the community input meeting.
“People don’t like to get out and shop in the cold or the rain because they can go to the supermarket where it’s nice and dry, climate-controlled,” Caldwell said.
“I think we had good success in our first year, but there’s definitely a demand,” said Randy Wingfield, Christiansburg assistant town manager. “It’s been one of the most requested things in town.”
Contractors for the project said they have helped with other farmers’ markets throughout the country. Those from federal agencies working with the town told us they they see great potential.
“There’s a lot of growth that’s happening already,” said Stephanie Bertaina, senior policy analyst for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “And I think the question is, ‘How can Christiansburg really harness that growth and interest in local food to continue to bring activity downtown?'”
“A lot of people want to get farm-fresh products,” Caldwell said. “They want to know where their food is coming from. They build relationships with the people that they’re buying the food from.”
The Local Foods, Local Places Workshop wraps up on Friday, Bertaina said. By the end of the workshop, consultants will have created an action plan to make the farmers’ market improvements a reality, she added.