Twin County Community Foundation Grant key to IFM success during pandemic

Thanks to everyone who sent in a testimonial, and who shopped online and helped us keep going during the worst of the pandemic.  Here’s the press release I shared with the paper in case you missed it.

The season is winding down for the Outdoor Independence Farmers Market, there are only 4 remaining. Fortunately, the On-line Market continues all year.  The Farmers Market was awarded a Twin County Community Foundation Grant in November of 2020 during the height of the pandemic.  It is clear the grant was key in its ability to weather the pandemic.

“We were very fortunate to have an established On-line Market in place when everything changed in April of 2020,” said Market manager Michelle Pridgen.  “Costs of running the Market dramatically increased as we developed systems to ensure safety for our customers and staff.  We had to add 2 new staff members and purchase additional supplies, and it all took a lot of extra time and money.  The grant funding we received from the TCCF allowed us to meet those extra expenses and provide a safe and efficient way to continue to deliver fresh food to our customers and provide an outlet for our vendors products.”

The IFM had anticipated that the Online Market would be the only Market open until July of 2021 but the early release of the covid-19 vaccines allowed the Market to open on its normal starting date, the 2nd Friday of May.  The Online Market continued to attract new customers and vendors and set new sales and usage records. “The systems we put in place during the pandemic still appealed to our customers and vendors, especially curb side pickup and credit card payment.  And some folks still felt safer using the Online system. Our SNAP/EBT usage matched the Outdoor Market for the first time and Online sales during the Market season went from an historical average of around $2,200 to $9,400. The Delta variant is causing more customers to return to Online shopping and we are lucky to be in such a strong position heading into fall and winter, in large part because of the TCCF funding.”

The Outdoor Market can be found in its temporary location on Courthouse street until the 2nd Friday in October while construction of the new pavilion in Town Park continues. The Online Market is open all year.  Orders can be placed from Wednesday evening at 8pm to Monday evening with delivery Wednesday from 4-6pm at the Grayson LandCare/IFM office at 108 Courthouse Street.  Both the Online and outdoor Markets accept SNAP/EBT as well as Senior and WIC farmers market coupons.

For more information, please contact Michelle Pridgen at [email protected] or 276-768-0597