Bringing farm to city
Posted: October 8, 2012
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — Local farmers gathered Saturday on the Loudoun Street Mall to enlighten people about their food and where it comes from.
The pilot event, called Main Street Agriculture, was launched by the Frederick County Farm Bureau, with help from Virginia Main Street. It featured more than 20 exhibitors and vendors lining the downtown mall, including agriculture producers, livestock, agriculture-related activities, live music, cooking demonstrations and children’s activities.
Frederick County Farm Bureau President Paul Anderson called the turnout “tremendous.”
He said the goal of the free event was to educate people about agriculture and the importance of local farms, because many people are clueless about how their food is grown.
“So many people are so remote from the farm,” Anderson said, adding that years ago, everyone knew how to get in touch with a farmer.
Sue Schneider, a Frederick County resident, attended the event with her neighbor and children.
“It helps educate the community about where their food comes from and how they can be a part of getting fresh foods,” she said.
A gardener, she said her kids are familiar with how food is produced, but not everyone has that experience.
According to Anderson, agriculture/forestry is the third-largest industry in Frederick County and the biggest in the state.
“What we’re trying to do is get people to realize how important it is and how it contributes to their well-being,” he said.
Mary Snapp, who owns West Oaks Farm Market on Cedar Creek Grade with her husband, Joe, was a vendor at Saturday’s event. She said it gave people a chance to see what’s in their own backyards.
“The community can know what’s right here available to them at their fingertips,” Snapp said. “Buy fresh and buy local.”
Vendors offered everything from fruits and vegetables to honey, pasture-raised meat and wool.
There also were animals available for petting, pony rides and tractors to check out.
“[We came] mostly for our son to see he tractors and animals,” Stephens City resident Terra Walker said. “We were really just looking for a fall activity for the family for the day.”
She added that it was a bonus to see what local farmers have to offer.
Any proceeds from the event will go to Agriculture in the Classroom, a nonprofit program that offers agriculture studies and teacher certifications at no cost to schools.
Organizers hope the event will eventually spread to the entire state and beyond.
“You don’t have to be a farmer to support agriculture,” Anderson said.
— Contact Melissa Boughton at email@example.com