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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 20, 2019
Contact: Melissa Rollins, Asst. County Administrator
SURRY, VA – Thanks partially to a $50,000 grant from the Obici Healthcare Foundation, citizens will be soon be able to visit the newly constructed farmer’s market pavilion located adjacent from the Surry Government Center. This project includes the design and construction of a 2,700 square ft. Farmer’s Market Pavilion. Designed with a metal roof and concrete floor, the structure is a welcomed change from the County’s traditional farmer’s market setup of canopy tents that compete with adverse weather conditions.
In 2017, the County applied for a Farmer’s Market Capacity Building grant through USDA – Farmer’s Market & Local Food Promotion Program. The goal was to build a structure that would make fresh fruit and vegetables more accessible to localities without grocery stores that are considered “food deserts.” While these efforts, led by David Harrison, did not come to fruition due to federal funding, the County is pleased to have this opportunity through the Obici Healthcare Foundation under its Healthy Space Grant Proposal. According to the Foundation’s website, access to community assets such as playgrounds, walking trails, community gardens and farmers’ markets make it easier for people to make healthier choices that have the potential to improve their health.
Supervisor Judy Lyttle agrees. “Surry County desires a healthy and well community as our quest for a grocery store for our community is ongoing. The new pavilion is a solution to having vendors and citizens socialize, purchase and sell fresh produce. We recognize our partners such as the Obici Healthcare Foundation for their support and thanks to all for working on this project”. Excited about the new pavilion is the Surry County Garden Club who has graciously agreed to plant and deliver the flowerpot arrangements that will beautify the entrance of the pavilion.
Here is what staff had to say about the new pavilion:
“The Surry Farmer’s Market Pavilion will serve as a huge asset that could be used to attract vendors, farmers, and community patrons with the desired outcome of promoting healthier lifestyles by exposing citizens to healthy food options, increasing community engagement and supporting the local farm and agribusiness community through tourism, all of which is the backbone of a community’s economic vitality” said, David Harrison, Economic Development Director.
Mr. Breyon Pierce, Biological Applications in Agriculture teacher at Surry High School….“The Agriculture students at Surry County High School are eager to do their part by growing and selling various produce out of the school’s garden once the Pavilion is complete. A common area where Surry families come together to socialize, shop for locally grown produce, baked goods, arts and crafts all while enjoying a nice open and safe area will bring such a lively atmosphere to the County.”
LaSonya White, Virginia Cooperative Extension Unit Director coordinates the County’s community garden. “Produce available from the garden are cared for, marketed, and sold by Surry 4-H youth clubs and those taking Agriculture Courses at the High School. Teens that grow their own food are more likely to enjoy eating healthy.
Mr. Stanley Jones, III, Director of Surry Parks & Recreation commented “It is a sense of pride when you can pick produce that you nurtured and then use for your prepared meals.” Surry senior citizens participated in the first community garden giving them the opportunity to be active while enjoying raising the produce to be sold at the market. We are appreciative of residents like Mr. Willie Blizzard who recognizes the many benefits of this project; he visited the construction site almost daily. This makes the work we do to better our community worth the effort.”
Mr. Jonathan Lynn, County Administrator stated that he “…supported the plans to build and market the pavilion as a healthy space for citizens to enjoy our amazing County in a safe environment. It is an environment that not only promotes wellness within our community but is also able to demonstrate what can be accomplished through forward-thinking ideas and collaboration among various county departments along with our wonderful outside partners.”
Supportive of creating a healthier and vibrant community is the $25,000 wellness grant from the Obici Healthcare Foundation that will be used for a Community-wide Wellness Program.
“The support from the Town of Surry, the Board of Supervisors and others, together with the anticipated excitement we’ve heard amongst the community, is gratifying”, said Melissa Rollins, Asst. County Administrator. Surry desires to be attractive for new economic development opportunities. If we are known as a County that thinks about the health, wellness and quality of life for all citizens and our workforce, it is a positive thing for economic development.”