By Lisa Carolin
With the news about coronavirus changing constantly, it’s impossible to predict start dates for such annual events as the Chelsea Farmers Market, which typically kicks off the first Saturday in May.
According to Chelsea Farmers Market Manager Emily Griswold, “I have every intention of starting the market on time the second of May. Farmers Markets are deemed essential by the governor and now, more than ever, it is a time to support our local food shed and work to keep fresh and nutritious food on the tables of our households.”
A month away is a long time, especially with the unpredictable spread of the coronavirus, and that, Griswold says, will be key to how the market runs.
The Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA), the Michigan Department of Agriculture, and the governor’s office have issued guidelines to keep people safe at the farmers markets.
They include limiting the types of products sold only to food and personal hygiene products, eliminating non-essential activities such as music and cooking demonstrations, increasing stall spacing to create proper distance among vendors, and providing hand washing and sanitizing stations throughout the market.
Griswold said, “SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is waiving the work requirement for the time being and allowing the maximum number of dollars that each household can utilize to get food assistance into more hands during this unprecedented time.”
Know that there is a lot of planning going on right now so that local farmers markets can open soon and safely, and in the meantime, stay tuned.