Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Join the effort!

There are many ways that you can get involved with the Local Food Hub and the local food movement.

1) Grow food. Contact the Local Food Hub at 434-244-FARM (3276) to register as a partner producer or citizen gardener.
2) Contribute financial support. Contact the Local Food Hub at 434-244-FARM (3276) in order to support the ongoing services and programs of the Local Food Hub.
3) Volunteer. Contact the Local Food Hub at 434-244-FARM (3276) and tell us what aspects of the local food system interest you and how you’d like to help. We will add you to our Citizen Support database and match you up with organizations or farms in need of your services.
4) Seek out and eat local food. Ask for locally grown food where you shop and dine. Business owners will hear this demand and see the value in purchasing more locally grown food.

The Local Food Hub is a non-profit service organization designed to support local food producers with the services they need to solidify them as competitive, profitable, and recognized businesses. We provide unbiased information to help producers become more productive and economically vital. We provide the networking resources necessary to actively engage our citizenry and make productive use of their time and energy. We coordinate charitable food donations from producers and citizens and deliver this fresh product to the organizations that feed low-income populations.

Because we are not driven by profits, we encourage producers to continue their direct-to-consumer and existing client relationships. We want producers to participate on any level that is beneficial to them. The Local Food Hub is designed to fill gaps identified in the regional food system. We are opening sales to larger buyers who are mostly inaccessible due to logistics, major volume and insurance requirements.

We will soon have an outfitted warehouse located in Ivy, Virginia, which will serve as a licensed distribution center that provides the liability insurance required for sales to grocery stores, distributors and institutional buyers. We have centralized pick-up points in surrounding counties, where producers meet our refrigerated truck for transportation of their goods. We are making an immediate and on-the-ground impact for both food producers and those who wish to purchase more local food.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

It's Official.

Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of local citizens and local foundations, we have raised our start-up funds and the Local Food Hub will be opening this summer. We're now starting our annual campaign to raise the funding that we need to operate for the next year.

We have just officially hired our start-up team.

Founding Director – Kate Collier
Kate grew up on a farm in Fauquier County and brings extensive food industry experience to the project. At the young age of 11, she began rolling out shortbread dough in her mother’s hilltop bakery. Kate is a long-term supporter of the local food movement and an advocate for small farms and local food producers in Central Virginia. Her innovative perspective on the food industry, life-long experience in marketing, food sales, and distribution has helped bring success and profitability to her and her husband Eric's business, Feast!. Her strong relationships with local farmers, a keen business sense and an understanding of the issues facing small-scale food producers helps inform our vision and mission.

Farmer Services and Development Director – Marisa Vrooman
The daughter of a large animal veterinarian, Marisa is no stranger to the farm. She worked with her father for many years and spent much of her childhood visiting small, struggling farms in upstate New York. She has witnessed the decline of the family farm on a very personal scale, seeing her family members struggle to hold on to their land. She is convinced that in order to revive our rural economies, we must begin to revive our agricultural heritage. Her family currently has a small farm in Amherst, Virginia where they raise Maremma guard dogs, sheep and grow wine grapes.

Director of Operations – Alan Moore
Born and raised in tidewater Virginia, Alan and his young family have deep roots in Central Virginia. After graduating from UVA, he served as the Director of Operations for Jefferson Vineyards. After graduate school in Charleston, he helped found and served as the Program Director for Lowcountry Local First a non-profit organization working to revitalize the agricultural economy, environment, and community in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. He has an understanding of the many pressures faced by our local growers. His experience in developing entrepreneurial programs that promote economic development, preserve our agricultural heritage, and better connect our farms to our tables is an invaluable asset to the Local Food Hub.