We are taking the Corona Virus seriously as well as our commitment to bringing you fresh, healthy local food. Here is our plan.
Independence Farmers Market Customers/Vendors/Staff,
Considering all of the recent closures, you are probably wondering how the Market will proceed in this unpredictable and dangerous health crisis. While it seems prudent to close schools and postpone gatherings centered on worship, art classes, social activities, workouts, etc; food is a basic necessity. We all need to eat. Unless your pantry is full, trips to the grocery or market will be necessary. In other words, just like health workers, food growers and purveyors must remain at their post to continue feeding our families. With that call-to-duty in mind, the Independence Farmers Market wants to continue providing our community with healthy foods and is taking steps to minimize risks to our farmers, vendors, customers, and staff. According the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), there are no known cases of sickness transmitted by food or food packaging. But, we must remain vigilant. So, although current and long standing food safety procedures practiced by our farmer/vendors already lowers the risk of food borne illnesses, we will be taking additional measures to limit close proximity contact while exchanging goods for payment during our Online Market pickup. In addition, we are researching further measures to implement once our Outdoor Market begins in early May.
In effect immediately at the Online Market:
- All famers/vendors/staff must review the Food Safety and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) are implemented at their farms and ensure these practices are being closely adhered to. You can find links to this information at the Independence Farmers Market Website http://independencefarmersmarket.org/info-for-vendors/food-safety-for-vendors/
- Online Market staff will wash hands often and avoid repeatedly touching products displayed for pickup. Vendors can help with this by clearly marking the product and to whom it goes.
- Our Online customers may elect to park at the curb during pick-up hours and text the manager your arrival. The staff will bring the products to your car if desired.
- We ask that our customers pay with check to avoid unnecessary exchanges of cash. Vendors will be reimbursed by check as well per a negotiated schedule.
- SNAP will be accepted, measures will be taken to sanitize the cards and machine after each use.
- Farmers/vendors who feel ill will suspend their products from the online market until they’ve been cleared by medical authority.
As always, we appreciate our communities’ concerns and want to hear your feedback. If you have ideas or witnessed other safe practices we can implement, please forward them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org