Feds visit Va. farmers market to tout local food

HILLSVILLE, Va. (AP) — Federal officials are highlighting the growing importance of local food systems in boosting economic growth and creating jobs, especially in areas of Appalachia.

Officials with the Appalachian Regional Commission and others visited the Southwest Virginia Farmers Market in Hillsville on Tuesday.

The market is said to generate between $20 million and $30 million in revenues annually, including produce sales to regional grocery stores.

Officials also announced $650,000 in funding and technical assistance aimed at supporting communities that are developing their local food systems, making them more sustainable and livable. The funding is sponsored by ARC, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency and others.

ARC is a state-federal economic development partnership created to help build sustainable communities in a 13-state region beset by poverty and poor health.

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