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Food: Support your local farmers’ markets

“To avoid a potential national food shortage, we must expand access to fresh, local foods. Frankly, we need more people in West Virginia to contribute to our local food systems. That starts at the community farmers’ market,” state Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt said recently.

He’s right; and by and large Mountain State resident have answered the call as a pandemic, inflation, supply chain problems and even Russia’s war on Ukraine have affected food security here in the U.S. From 93 registered farmers’ markets in 2019, the number has exploded to 267 this year.

It helps that lawmakers got rid of some of the red tape that made it harder to register and open markets. But it also helps that we live in a state where residents know the value of a meal from the garden — and how to make one that rivals what any five-star chef could provide.

“The best thing the government can do is support and get out of the way of those who grow our food,” Leonhardt said.

Meanwhile, the rest of us can patronize these markets and take advantage of the incredible resource we have right here at home. The food is locally sourced, sustainable, healthy and delicious — and often less expensive than what you’d find in a grocery store.

Senior Farmer Market Nutrition Program vouchers are available now, too, to make sure everyone can enjoy what West Virginia’s farms and fields have to offer.

One thing we know how to do here in the Mountain State is feed one another. Support your local farmers’ markets and make sure we are sustaining them so they can do the same for us.

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