West End Farmers Market; Library fines; Grant — The buzz – Staunton News Leader


Laura Peters
Staunton News Leader

Published 8:28 AM EDT Jun 29, 2020

STAUNTON – The farmers market in the west end will open soon, don’t worry about library fines and there’s a new grant for development growth — here’s the buzz.

Farmers market

Starting July 9, the Staunton West End Farmers Market will begin its summer season. 

The market brings fresh, local produce to the west end of Staunton. It is open Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. and located in the old Big Lots parking lot.

The Staunton-Augusta Rotary Club is managing the market and it is being funded through a grant the rotary received. The market is now in its third season. It began in 2017.

Some new rules will be applied due to COVID-19:

  • Vendors will be six feet apart
  • There will be a dedicated entrance and exit
  • All venders will wear masks
  • Social distancing and masks are highly encouraged for the safety and future of the market
  • Handling produce by customers will not be allowed
  • Foot traffic only through the market area

Vendors include:

  • Sally Shomo Vegetables and corn
  • Rawson Ridge Vegetables
  • Peace of Mind Farm
  • Queen City Cupcakes
  • Kim’s CBD oils
  • Nacho Baby food truck

Rawson Ridge Farms have been approved to take WIC and the department of aging coupons. Peace of Mind offers a buy one get one free to those community members and Rawson Ridge Vegetables offers a discount.

More information can be found at the West End Farmers Market Facebook page.

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Library fines

Have an overdue library material? Don’t worry about it. Start July 1, the three Valley libraries will be eliminating overdue fines and will waive previously accrued overdue fines.

This goes for the Augusta County Library, the Staunton Public Library and the Waynesboro Public Library.

“We know that life happens sometimes,” Augusta County Library Director, Diantha McCauley said in a release. “It can be difficult to return items on time. But we don’t want overdue fines to dissuade our patrons from the free services that our libraries offer, so we’re going fine free and giving everyone a fresh start.”

All three Valley libraries are committed to providing equal access to every member of the community, the release said. 

The elimination of overdue fines removes barriers and makes library access easy and enjoyable for everyone, the release said. The elimination of overdue fines does not include the cost for lost or damaged items, and that these will remain on users’ accounts.

For questions or more information, contact the Augusta County Library at 540-885-3961, the Staunton Public Library at 540-332-3902 or the Waynesboro Public Library at 540-942-6746.

Visit Valleylibraries.org to search for materials at all three libraries, and to place items on hold.


New funding has been granted in order to fund virtual acceleration programming, infrastructure buildout and ecosystem builders across the region for an investment total of over $1 million.

The GO Virginia State board approved the grant proposal submitted by the Staunton Creative Community Fund (SCCF) and multiple Shenandoah Valley partners last week. 

The Startup Shenandoah Valley Program will be a part of the greater Shenandoah Valley entrepreneurial ecosystem, a release said. That includes hubs in Winchester, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Lexington and Waynesboro. Each hub, either itself or within the immediate surrounding area, has strong traded sector diversification, supportive institutions of higher education, and various existing entrepreneurial assets, the release said.

Startup Shenandoah Valley is a virtual acceleration program that will target entrepreneurs with scalable business ideas, particularly those focused on Region 8’s traded sectors of food processing, light manufacturing, information technology, cybersecurity, and biomedical and biotechnical. Region 8 is Augusta, Bath, Clarke, Frederick, Highland, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah and Warren counties and the cities of Buena Vista, Harrisonburg, Lexington, Staunton, Waynesboro and Winchester.

In addition to the customized virtual accelerator programming the grant will also support dedicated workspace and entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure buildout throughout the region, along with the hiring of two dedicated ecosystem builders to support the network and programming, the release said.

Infrastructure buildout includes the purchase of equipment for many of the partner organizations like Innovault, Valley Makers Association, The Perch, 143 CoWork, Staunton Innovation Hub, Strasburg Coworking, and Warren EDA Coworking, the release said.

Startup Shenandoah Valley will address three of the four priority action items:

  • Support advancement of integrated accelerators-incubators-coworking entrepreneurial hubs across the region
  • Leverage and support engagement of college and university business schools and professional service providers to assist startup companies from ideation through growth and scale-up
  • Catalyze follow-up venture funding to go beyond initial risk capital sources in the region.

“We have long realized that in order to sustain the programs our entrepreneurs and small businesses need, SCCF has to operate on a regional scale in an integrated system with partner organizations,” said Ellen Brock, President of the Board of Directors for SCCF. “The timing for this grant couldn’t be better, given the acute challenges to our region’s entrepreneurs brought on by the pandemic.”

The Virginia Initiative for Growth and Opportunity is a business-led initiative that was formed to foster private-sector growth and diversification across nine economic development regions in the Commonwealth, the release said.

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You can reach reporter Laura Peters at [email protected]. Follow her @peterslaura.

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