Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Help Us Reach Our Goal: Three Days Left!

Dear friends,
This year has been filled with amazing local food successes. We've helped more than 50 small family farms stay profitable and productive. We've provided fresh, healthy food to thousands of public school children. We've expanded your access to local food in places like UVA Hospital, low-income neighborhoods, and many independent grocery stores and restaurants. And we've graduated three young farm apprentices and four high school interns from our Educational Farm.

Today, we need your help to continue and expand our programming in 2011. When you give a tax-deductible gift to Local Food Hub now, you provide us with the momentum to move forward into the new year, equipped and prepared to keep our local farms growing and our community healthy. It's easy to give using our safe and secure online donation service.

And the best part is, when you give in 2010, your tax-deductible gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $50,000, by the Charlottesville-based Perry Foundation.  This will effectively double the impact of your contribution.

So please give today if you care about:
  • healthy food in schools;
  • more farmland and less development;
  • keeping our area's family farms in business;
  • better access to fresh, delicious, local food;
  • proving that local is more than a trend;
  • combating food deserts; and
  • growing the next generation of farmers.
Your support has gotten us this far — please consider renewing your gift before the end of the year!

Thank you.

With best wishes for a happy, healthy, delicious 2011,

--the Local Food Hub team

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    A Top Ten for 2010.

    Driving down Route 95 Monday, I saw no less than three billboards frantically reminding me that there are only 12 shopping days left until Christmas (today there are only 10). I'm not a big holiday shopper, so those billboards don't really induce anxiety attacks, but they do make me think about how close we are to 2011.

    And that makes me think of lists. December is always full of them: top ten albums, top ten books, top ten movies...even the top 10 tweets! I figured Local Food Hub should get in on the list-making fun, too, so without further ado:

    My Top 10 Favorite Things that Local Food Hub Did in 2010:

    10. Moved more than 45,000 pounds of local watermelons.
    Oh, my aching back!  This one speaks for itself. Our warehouse moved more than 45,000 pounds of watermelons grown by local farmers this summer.  You folks like your melons!  

    9. Hosted the Southwood Photography Project.
    Turning loose a group of kids armed with cameras on a farm has never been so fun.  Check out a firsthand account of the day and view a slide show.  Oh, did I mention they made a book?! 

    8. Benefited from a Dave Matthews concert.
    Thanks to the generosity and creative thinking of our hometown rock stars and their adoring fans, this concert raised more than $75,000 for Local Food Hub.  What an impact. 

    7. Graduated three apprentices and four high school interns.
    Brian, Sarah and Tess spent eight months living and working (and sweating) at Maple Hill. Brian is staying on next year as a senior apprentice (and we're accepting applications for the 2011 season). And our interns, oh where do we start?  How about here, with this video.
    6. Garnered some pretty excellent national attention.
    USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan toured our warehouse.  NRCS Chief Dave White visited the farm.  Know Your Farmer Know Your Food wrote about us. Tom Philpott came to see us, and we got a shout-out in the WaPo. We're making waves, people!

    5. Supplied more than 45 schools with fresh fruits and vegetables.
    We deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to schools in Albemarle and Greene County, the City of Charlottesville, three UVA dining halls, St. Anne's Belfield and Charlottesville Day School. And during Farm to School week, more than 11,000 kids had the option of a fresh, local lunch.  Yum.
    4. Partnered with Boys & Girls Club to host pop-up farmers markets.
    These farmers markets, hosted weekly in the Southwood Mobile Home Park, are helping to get fresh, healthy food into traditionally under served neighborhoods, also called food deserts.  We're expanding the program in the spring to include the Cherry Avenue neighborhood!

    3. Donated more than 50,000 pounds of produce to food banks.
    We think everyone deserves access to fresh, healthy food grown in their community. That's why we donate 5% of warehouse sales and 25% of food grown on our farm to places like the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, the Haven and Bread of Life.
    2. Inspired Perry Foundation to double your gift.
    Thanks to some creative thinkers at this local foundation, every gift we receive between now and the end of 2010 will be matched, dollar for dollar.  These funds keep our truck on the road, our farmers in business, and fresh food in your community. Please help us take advantage of this opportunity by donating today.


    1. Delivered more than $460,000 worth of local fruits, vegetables and eggs from 50 family farms to more than 100 buyers.
    In just 15 months, we've delivered almost half a million dollars worth of local food to our hospitals, schools, restaurants and grocery stores. That's food that was originally being shipped in from out of state; money that's staying right here in our local economy; and fresh healthy food for our kids, our families and our community.

    Congratulations Charlottesville, and thanks to all the big thinkers that have supported our efforts so far.  You made this entire list possible!

    Cheers to a happy, healthy and delicious 2011.

    image credit: Fred Jackson / Creative Commons

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Attention Future Farmers: Now Accepting Apprenticeship Applications

    The month of October was bittersweet.  It marked the end of our first apprenticeship season and the sad departure of Tess and Sarah (thank goodness Brian is staying around for next year).

    But, it's also an exciting time because now we're hiring for next year! And did we mention that the program is expanding? That's right: in 2011, Local Food Hub will be hiring FIVE farm apprentices to work at our Educational Farm at Maple Hill.

    Interested? We are looking for four farm production apprentices as well as one farm education apprentice. Apprentices will work from March through October and on-farm housing is available.

    Application information is available on our ATTRA page.

    The goal of the Local Food Hub's apprenticeship program is to provide a hands-on training ground for aspiring farmers by teaching the basic concepts and applications of organic food production and distribution, while working within a small nonprofit service organization.

    Apprentices are exposed to all aspects of food production, including irrigation, soil and pest management, harvesting, and marketing through a combination of hands-on learning, workshops and field trips. Although most of the time is spent working on the farm, apprentices may also be required to work with community partners as well as participate in our education and food access projects. This blend of technical training and community involvement is what makes our program a unique and enriching experience.

    Good attitude, excellent work ethic and great communication skills are essential; good sense of humor also appreciated.  Apprentices are expected to work equally well with a team or independently. Some previous farming or gardening experience is required.

    The Farm Education Apprenticeship will have a unique focus on Local Food Hub's education and volunteer programs. The apprentice will spend at least half of their time on these activities and the other half on farm tasks. Education programs include, but are not limited to: school field trips, volunteer activities, high-school internships, and teen service projects. Farm tasks include vegetable production, warehouse work, greenhouse management and chicken care.

    The ideal candidate for this position will have some knowledge of agriculture, farming or gardening. Experience working with kids (preferably at-risk) is required, as is a good work ethic, positive attitude and sense of humor. Apprentices are expected to work in all weather conditions and until the job is done.  This is a invaluable opportunity for someone interested in sustainable farming, food, nonprofit work and community education.

    If this sounds like the right fit for you, hop on over to our ATTRA page for details.  If you know someone who would be a great candidate, please forward it along!