I'm the executive director of Pawfectly Delicious Dog Treats, a local nonprofit in the Fort Hunt/Mount Vernon Community. Our nonprofit provides job training and meaningful work to young adults with disabilities. Our team of differently-abled young adults support daily operations of making all natural ginger dog treats.
Recently we applied to become a vendor at the Fairfax County sponsored farmer's market at the Sherwood Hall library. Despite the lack of encouragement from the office that facilitates the application process, I went ahead and submitted and application. Our application was denied, and we were offered a slot at the Oakton Farmer's Market, approximately 20 miles away from where our young people reside. I am perplexed at the lack of support for an organization such as ours, that wants nothing more than to have our special needs population to have connection within the community where they live.
The next time you choose to "shop local" take note of all where all of the vendors at the county sponsored markets come from. You will see that room is made for vendors from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and localities further away in the state of Virginia, but few from right in our own community. You might want to consider supporting independent farm stands where local churches such as St. Luke's Episcopal Church have provided support and an opportunity for our organization to sell our treats in the community where our workers and volunteers work and live.