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Many of West Virginia’s small farms and businesses have had to navigate tough times this year. During this holiday season, West Virginia University Extension Service Agribusiness Economics Specialist Dee Singh-Knights suggests giving back to your community by purchasing foods and gifts from farms and agribusinesses in your area. She’s provided a few helpful tips for those looking to buy local this year.
“Buying local food and farm products helps to create jobs and strengthen your community’s economy. Whether you’re sourcing ingredients for your holiday meal or buying a gift, local farms and agribusiness stores usually carry an inventory of distinctive products you will not find at national retail stores. As we continue to be bombarded by mass-marketing at the holidays, local farms and agribusinesses can offer the opportunity to give a unique gift that shows pride in and support for your local community.”
“While some local products may cost a bit more, it’s important to remember that they are uniquely handcrafted. Local business owners do what they do because they are passionate about their products. This often contributes to better and more personal customer service that you likely won’t find at larger, big-box stores. And sometimes, you may be lucky to find prices at local businesses are better because they don’t have the overhead that larger stores may have. Help encourage these businesses to stay afloat by supporting them and encouraging your friends and family to do the same.”
“Some farms may still have a good inventory of fresh products that you can use for your holiday meal because of high-tunnel production or favorable weather conditions this year. Others may have meat or value-added products, such as maple syrup and other maple products, honey, jams and jellies, or craft drinks, that you could serve to your family. These value-added products also make wonderful, unique gifts for your friends and family, while giving the gift of support to your local community. Some farms also offer CSA subscriptions, gift certificates or vouchers that can be used during next year’s growing season.”
“If you need help finding local farms and agribusinesses in your area, there are a few tools that can help you locate a West Virginia farm and find out what types of products they offer. WVU Extension Service recently launched an exciting new project called the West Virginia Local Foods Finder Map, which can help you find vendors for produce, meats and specialty products. Other resources include the West Virginia Department of Agriculture’s annual West Virginia Grown directory and FarmFreshWV, an initiative by the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition, which can help you discover farms, markets and other agriculture-related businesses.” – Dee Singh-Knights, associate professor and agribusiness economics specialist, WVU Extension Service
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CONTACT: Hannah Booth
WVU Extension Service
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