The Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership held it’s first Farmers Market of the season on June 4. Like all farmers markets in Washington State, the Downtown Kennewick Farmers Market has been deemed an essential service. Market organizers are committed to operating safely in full compliance with public health directives so that the Downtown Kennewick Farmers Market can continue to provide a vital link between neighbors needing healthy food and WA & OR farmers and food producers.
“Our farmers are a crucial part of our local food system and we need to do everything in our power to support their health and safety,” said Stephanie Button, Executive Director. “Farmworkers are considered "essential workers," and they risk their health to ensure that we have access to fruits and vegetables. A customer at a farmers market might only interact with a couple of vendors during their visit, but the venders are interacting with hundreds of people. Wearing a cloth, face-covering mask is an act of compassion. We cover our faces to protect others. That is why we are dedicated to enforcing the mask-wearing rule at our farmers market”
A wide variety of types and styles of face-coverings are acceptable. Nonmedical masks that cover both the nose and mouth are recommended, but scarves and bandannas are acceptable coverings. Face coverings can help prevent the spread of infection to others by blocking infectious droplets that can spread when someone coughs, sneezes, or speaks, according to local public health officials.
Exceptions to the directive to wear face coverings include children, people with disabilities, deaf people who read lips, and those whose health care providers recommend against it for health reasons. “Market staff and volunteers are happy to accommodate shoppers who are unable to wear a mask,” Said Amber Maiden, Market Manager.
The Downtown Kennewick Farmers Market occurs every Thursday from 4 pm to 7 pm at Flag Plaza (204 W. Kennewick Ave) in downtown Kennewick. The 21-week market runs from June 4-Oct 22. As soon as customers enter the market there will be a volunteer to spray their hands with sanitizer and there will be handwashing stations available to shoppers. The number of people in the market at one time will be limited. All vendors are required to wear protective, face-covering masks and the public will be asked to the same.
Downtown Kennewick Farmers Market staff have been coordinating with the Pasco and Richland Farmers Markets, as well as other market managers throughout Washington to learn what best practices procedures have been implemented. “We are fortunate to have support and resources from the Washington State Farmer Market Association and to be able to learn from the farmers’ markets that have already opened.” Said Maiden, who continued, “With COVID-19 conditions evolving, we will continue to work with our county health department the closer we get to our opening date to ensure safety for everyone.”
Now more than ever, farmers’ markets are vital partners in bringing healthy foods into the neighborhoods throughout Washington. Likewise, communities like ours are vital to the livelihoods of hundreds of farmers and other food vendors. Times such as these highlight farmers markets' role as essential, community retail. We are proud to be a local source of fresh produce and essential materials to our public and will do our best to continue to serve them.
The Downtown Kennewick Farmers Market participates in the Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), which includes the “SNAP Market Match” program. Shoppers who use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) EBT benefits at a growing list of participating farmers’ markets can get additional dollar to dollar “match” to buy more fresh fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, and plant starts. SNAP Market Match is one of Washington’s Fruit and Vegetable Incentive Programs administered by the Washington State Department of Health.
For the most up to date information on the Downtown Kennewick Farmers Market, visit the website, www.historickennewick.org/farmers-market or the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/kennewickfarmersmarket.
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