Posted: 5/26/15 at 8:15am. Story by Linda Peay. Photos courtesy of New Highland Baptist Church
Warmer weather is here, and New Highland Baptist Church (NHBC) of Hanover County opened its new season of the Farmers’ Market Ministry on May 13.
“The mission of the NHBC Farmers’ Market is to help local growers and vendors, who grow or make their own products, connect with the community and provide fresh, locally-grown food,” said Buddy Johnson, co-manager of this ministry and church member.
“The church is answering God’s call to practice environmental and resource stewardship by providing healthy food options and reducing the carbon footprint of what is consumed.”
New for 2015, the Farmers’ Market fourth season, is a collaboration with Feed More, which is Central Virginia’s hunger-relief leader made up of the Central Virginia Food Bank, Meals on Wheels Serving Central Virginia, and the Community Kitchen.
The NHBC Farmers’ Market is also one of the first markets to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. By expanding the marketing scope, the ministry hopes to double the customer base to provide more healthy food options to the community.
The idea to bring a market ministry to the New Highland campus stemmed from a strategic plan done by the church in 2010. The strategic planning team generated ideas on how the church can use its resources, including a large field on campus, to help the community.
“There are a number of local farmers around us who sell items on the weekends in other markets,” said Mike Sandridge, church member, NHBC Market co-Manager, and owner of Sandridge and Sons Honey. “However, this weekly opportunity will give them a mid-week option to sell their produce before the next weekend rolls around,”
For its initial season three years ago, the Dover Baptist Association gave New Highland a grant to help with startup funds for signs and other advertising costs.
Seven vendors are participating this year with space for more. The ministry maintains certain rules as to what can be sold at the market, including that each vendor has to grow and make their own products.
Click here for more information or by call the church at 804-550-9601.
The market runs from May through September, from 4 to 7 p.m., every Wednesday.