Virginia MarketMaker Offers Solution for Producers Facing Market Losses
A tool that could help agricultural producers faced with the loss of markets is Virginia MarketMaker, says Virginia Tech. Virginia MarketMaker is an online platform that connects producers with markets and is free to Virginia businesses, Extension agents, and retail shops. The platform, which is part of a larger nationwide network, has been available in Virginia since 2015 and already has a database of producers and other food processors around the state. The platform allows new users to set up a profile for free, which gives them access to enter their own business information, appear in search results for markets, and post product needs and availability. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, MarketMaker has also made it possible for individual farms to set up an online store for free. In addition to producers, food banks, and other emergency feeding programs can use MarketMaker to find products. The platform is also available to community gardens, hydroponic growers, and other non-traditional producers and businesses who may be struggling to replace now-closed lines of operation.