That's right: one year ago this week, we opened our warehouse doors for business. Remember this photo taken on opening day? Yep, we were really excited then — and we still are! A lot has changed in the past year, but our mission and our drive has only gotten stronger. We've grown our staff, expanded our educational programming, and refined our structure and our goals -- and we're proud to say that we have already made concrete steps in changing our area's local food system.
To everyone out there who has helped make our first year a success with your support — financial, in-kind and otherwise — THANK YOU. We have made it this far because of you, and we look forward to many years of serving our community.
To those of you who weren't sure about us in the beginning, we hope our proven track record of success will convince you! (P.S. You can still join our local food revolution — and now you can do it online.)
In celebration of our 365 days of existence (and our recently acquired 501(c)3 status!), we wanted to share with you some of the progress we've made.
- We are now working in partnership with more than 40 local farms within 60 miles of Charlottesville.
- We distribute food to 45 public and private schools in Charlottesville and surrounding counties, and more than 40 other locations, including UVA Health Systems, Whole Foods, and a variety of local retailers, restaurants, and summer camps.
- Everyday, we are reinvesting dollars into our local economy, supporting our local farms and businesses and helping to sustain and create jobs.
- More than six acres of certified organic vegetables are under production at the Educational Farm at Maple Hill -- 25% of which are being donated to local hunger organizations.
- Three full-time apprentices and three part-time high school interns have joined us at the farm to learn the ins and outs of sustainable, organic food production.
- Food donations are rolling in from our Plant a Row for the Hungry program from more than 30 backyard gardeners in our area (you can still sign up!).
- We have created partnerships with a wide range of community groups, at-risk youth organizations and individuals, to effect change in our local food system, fight obesity and hunger issues, and spread the word about healthy, fresh, local fruits and vegetables.
We hope you'll all take a moment to celebrate this weekend with some delicious local food, whether it's peaches, summer squash, or maybe that first sun-ripened tomato. Thank you, Charlottesville, for a momentous, memorable first year -- and here's to many, many more!