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  • Writer's pictureCenter for Rural Culture

What a time it has been

Dear Friends of the Center for Rural Culture,

What a time it has been. It was heartbreaking to see our chef and restaurant customers closing their businesses abruptly, en masse, 2 years ago, and quite a blow to our farm. Manakintowne Specialty Growers has been in business for 35 years, raising specialty produce primarily for that market, and there were serious discussions of shutting down our business as well.

All was not lost, though. Our sales on the Fall Line Farms and Local Roots online farmers’ market tripled in 2020. Other producers saw similar gains. More important, the co-op served its customers well at a time when masks were hard to come by and grocery shopping in public was so risky.

Personally, I will always be grateful for the Herculean efforts made by the staff, volunteers, our fellow producers, and the Center for Rural Culture during the pandemic for allowing us to keep our team together and continue to farm in such uncertain times.

The Fall Line Farms and Local Roots online farmers’ market owes its life to the support of the Center for Rural Culture. As a former board member of the Center for Rural Culture, I know that fundraising events and class fees are key to supporting the programs of the CRC.

While market orders were soaring, so was the work of the staff and volunteers. Meanwhile, the annual Farm-to-Table fundraiser dinners had to be put on hold for two years, and classes went online or outside but most did not take place. Some difficult decisions were made. There were staff cuts, and fees were raised for vendors and customers alike to cover payroll, transportation costs and supplies. This has helped cover costs, but not entirely, and there is no cushion. The CRC board and staff remain firmly behind the market and the mission of the CRC.

So here we are. The market continues to be open - but with all costs climbing and gas prices reaching unprecedented levels, the financial support of the market by the CRC is uncertain for the near future.

Today, we are asking you as an appreciative customer and as a supporter of the mission of the CRC to step into the gap. Thank you for your continued support and your help in getting us all through these unprecedented times.


Jo Pendergraph

Manakintowne Specialty Growers

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Donations processed for the Center for Rural Culture by the Virginia Farmers Market Association

The Center for Rural Culture is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to preserving rural culture in the Central Virginia Piedmont. The Center for Rural Culture seeks to support local economies and agriculture, to protect rural landscapes and traditions, and conserve natural and historic resources.


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