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Maryland Farmers Market Association ceases operations

The nonprofit organization that has informally coordinated and advocated for Maryland’s network of outdoor farmers’ markets has shut down for financial reasons.

“It is with a heavy heart that the Maryland Farmers Market Association (MDMFA) announces that it closed its doors on April 17, 2020,” Laura Howard, chairwoman of the organization’s board of directors, wrote in a letter posted on the association’s website.

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“MDFMA has faced financial challenges the past year and, despite efforts to forge a path forward, the organization lacks sufficient funding to continue operations.”

The association was formed in 2012 to support the economic viability of the farmers and their markets and to improve the public’s access to nutritious food.

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Among the group’s accomplishments, Howard wrote, was increasing the percentage of markets accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, vouchers from 15% to 45% and advocating for the Maryland Farms and Families Act, which aims to help economically challenged families obtain fresh locally grown produce.

Though the association has ceased operations, the markets themselves are categorized as essential businesses by Gov. Larry Hogan and some will continue to operate amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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