Letter from Farmers to Governor Northam

VA Governor Northam’s Executive Order 53 classifies farmers’ markets as restaurants instead of grocery stores. Farmers’ markets are essential businesses that can be safer than supermarkets and can manage social distancing for both vendors and customers.

In Virginia, farmers are being encouraged or directed to limit sales to pre-orders, or drive-through sales only in an effort to reduce crowding. While that logic translates to restaurants, it does not translate to farmers’ markets: drive-through capacity is inconsistent with the physical set-up of markets, and vendors rely on foot traffic, which is not conducive to customers calling ahead. While farmers appreciate the need to adapt for safety purposes, this framework simply doesn’t apply to markets as it does for restaurants.

Please support the farmers in our region who are providing fresh, locally produced food. Contact Governor Northam and your local elected officials and ask them to reclassify farmers’ markets as grocery stores and to keep the farmers’ markets open in an manner that is as close to normal as possible, with social distancing requirements and other safety measures that take into account the way these markets operate.

See our letter to Governor Northam here [PDF].

Email Governor Ralph Northam
Contact the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
Contact the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors
Contact Bettina Ring, VA Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry
Contact Jewel Bronaugh, Commissioner, VA Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services