Farm programs Archive

Shop Local (Farmers’ Markets)!

beets-1584454_640Central Virginia has a thriving agricultural community with enthusiastic support for the farm-to-table, local foods movement that shows no signs of waning. In Charlottesville and the surrounding counties you will find restaurants of varying style and cuisine that proudly site their locally-sourced ingredients. The best visual representation of such a vibrant local economy that supports its homegrown foods and locally raised livestock is perhaps most evident at the many bustling farmers’ markets in the area. For your easy reference, we’ve pulled together a list of those in and around Charlottesville. At the markets listed below, you’ll be able to peruse fruits, vegetables, and cut flowers grown in local fields, taste homemade baked goods made with fresh ingredients such as local honey, and admire the handiwork of local artisans.

Charlottesville

There are a couple options in Charlottesville to get fresh, local produce along with the farmers’ market experience.

City Market

Saturdays, 7 a.m.-12 p.m. | April-December

In the lot between Water St. and South St. | Charlottesville, VA

Farmers in the Park

Wednesdays, 3-7 p.m. | May-September

300 Meade Ave. | Charlottesville, VA

Crozet Farmers Market green-1283756_640

Saturdays, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. | May-October

1156 Crozet Ave. | Crozet United Methodist Church (CUMC)

What makes the Crozet Market unique is that market sales go to support the CUMC food pantry. Additionally, every second and fourth Saturday, the Horticulture Help Desk is open for any questions you might have for the Piedmont Master Gardeners who staff the desk. Common questions range from pest control to plant health and environmental impact.

Nelson Farmers Market Cooperative

Saturdays, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. | May-October

3079 Rockfish Valley Hwy. | Nellysford, VA

This year the Nelson Farmers Market Cooperative celebrates twenty years in operation supporting the local farming community.

Madison Farmers’ Market 

Saturdays, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. | May-October

1110 Fairground Rd. | Madison, VA

 pexels-photo-73640Fluvanna Farmer’s Market at Pleasant Grove

Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. | Tuesdays, 2-6 p.m.

1730 Thomas Jefferson Pkwy. | Palmyra, VA

Greene Farmers Market

Saturdays, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. | May-September

Tractor Supply on Route 33 | Ruckersville, VA

 

Mineral Farmer’s Market

Saturdays, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. | Mini Market Tuesdays, 5-7 p.m., June-August

81 Louisa Ave. | Mineral, VA (Louisa County)

Ample Agricultural & Conservation Funding Available in Central Virginia

If you are a landowner in central Virginia, whether you own farmland, conservation land, or a small plot, you’ll be happy to know that there is ample funding to provide support for maintaining and improving your land. Read on to find out more about specific programs.

Virginia Trees for Clean Water

Trees help remove common pollutants from stormwater, therefore improving the water quality of runoff that enters the drainage system. Virginia Trees for Clean Water provides funds on a reimbursement basis to support the planting of trees in the Commonwealth for this purpose. There is, however, a 50/50 match requirement. Funding is available to private citizens, as well as to educational institutions, non-profit organizations, civic organizations, and local government. The deadline to apply is approaching quickly (February 16, 2017). The application instructions specify, “Winning proposals will demonstrate the merit of the project and how the trees will be maintained in perpetuity.” The program is funded by the USFS Chesapeake Watershed Forestry Program and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, and facilitated by the Virginia Department of Forestry.

Headwater Stream Initiative07 DSC_0016And2more

The Headwater Stream Initiative is a program facilitated by the Piedmont Environmental Council in partnership with Friends of the Rappahannock. If you own land in the upper Rappahannock River watershed—which includes all or parts of Madison, Culpeper, Rappahannock, Greene, Orange, and Fauquier counties—you may be eligible to receive free assistance and materials to plant native trees and shrubs along waterways on your property. This vegetation is known as a riparian buffer, which keeps the water cleaner, shades it from higher temperatures, reduces erosion, and improves the natural wildlife habitat. There is no deadline to participate. Simply sign up here.

RCPP Invasive Species Removal

In 2016, Blue Ridge PRISM (Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management) announced that the RCPP (Regional Conservation Partnership Program) had made funds available to help landowners of “nonindustrial private forestland and agricultural producers” remove invasive plants. Blue Ridge PRISM serves Albemarle, Greene, Madison, Nelson, Augusta, Clarke, Page, Rappahannock, Rockingham, and Warren counties. Only land located within one of those counties is eligible for funding. Blue Ridge PRISM’s original announcement has more information about what kinds of invasive species are eligible for removal. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, however, the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) may put deadlines in place to stagger applications according to “batching periods.” You can learn more here about eligibility and the application schedule.

USDA Farmers Market Promotion ProgramHiddenBarnDistance2_small

In September 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded a grant of almost $250,000 to the Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission through the Farmers Market Promotion Program in order to promote local agriculture in the northern Piedmont. The funds will be used in part to support marketing of the Madison County Farmers Market and Culpeper Farmers Market, as well as the Tween Rivers Trail—a self-guided tour that highlights the agricultural and artisanal goods of the area. You can read more about the locally awarded grant in The Daily Progress here.

Further Funding

You can also check out many other funding opportunities available through the Thomas Jefferson Soil & Water Conservation District.

 

 

CREP, Explained.

Quite often when looking at farm and ranch real estate, you will hear the word “CREP” mentioned.  If you are new to farming, you’ll probably be wondering what we are talking about.  “CREP” is an acronym for Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program and is a conservation program created by the United State Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Services Agency (FSA).  There are regional Farm Services Agencies throughout every state.  In central Virginia, you can find them in Orange, Louisa, Verona, Buckingham, Rustburg and Lexington.

The goal of the Virginia CREP program, at least here in central Virginia, is to help reduce nutrient, sediment and animal waste run-off that is negatively impacting the Chesapeake Bay.  By fencing off stream buffers from livestock and providing a strip buffer from fertilizer applications, less pollutants will be entering the streams and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.  While the fencing off of streams is mandated by some state governments, in Virginia, it is still voluntary.

The CREP program provides financial help to farmers through either cost-share programs to build fences around their streams, ponds, lakes and wetlands and to construct automatic watering troughs to provide fresh and clean water to livestock or through rental payments for the acreage enrolled.   Programs can run for 10 or 15 years.  Here is a link to the Virginia CREP fact sheet.

Since Virginia is a Caveat Emptor state, you should inquire as to if the farm that you are interested in buying is enrolled in not just the CREP program but any of the various USDA’s programs.  If the farm is participating in any of these programs, you may be responsible for continuing the program practices or face various penalties.  While it is always good to ask the owner or the farmer of the property, I suggest also checking with the Farm Services Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service as well.   Generally the agency can tell you if the property is enrolled in a program, but they also need the owner’s permission to share any details.