Local Food Hub

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Mission Statement

OUR MISSION is to partner with Virginia farmers to increase community access to local food. We provide the support services, infrastructure, and market opportunities that connect people with food grown close to home.

Description

Local Food Hub was founded to address a market failure – one that makes the most nutritious and sustainable food the hardest to get, and makes it difficult for the farmers that supply that food to survive and thrive. Local Food Hub has always believed that good food should be a right, that food should be grown with care for the earth, and that our small farms and our farmland should be preserved.
Local Food Hub has worked for 10 years to develop an alternative to the industrial food system, creating a distribution business that buys and aggregates food from small family farms for sale to the wholesale market. It has re-circulated more than $10m in the local economy as a result. It has also provided free technical assistance to farmers, programs to get fresh local food to those most in need, and education on the value of local food.
As Local Food Hub’s distribution business has grown, it has become clear that greater scale and efficiency is necessary to fully realize the vision of making local food a choice, not a privilege. In 2019, the organization found a way to do just that, merging its distribution arm with a mission-driven, for-profit food hub named 4P Foods.
At the same time, the need for farmer training, public education, and innovative food access programs has not diminished. Local Food Hub continues to exist as a non-profit organization, and is in a strong position to leverage the experience of the past decade to ensure the health and longevity of next-generation family farming in Virginia and provide access to healthy choices for everyone. Specifically, in the coming years Local Food Hub will be focused on food access, grower services, and thought leadership.

Program Details

  • Grower Services: The objective of Local Food Hub’s Grower Services program is to increase competitiveness and opportunity for small to midsize farmers in the wholesale marketplace and ensure that farmers adhere to the highest possible level of food safety. This requires understanding not only the regulatory landscape but also what buyers and consumers demand, whether or not those demands are required by law. Local Food Hub shares that understanding with farmers and offers programs specifically designed to help them navigate the rules and become compliant as needed. With the increased market opportunities presented by the 4PFoods merger, these services are more in demand than ever.
  • Food Access: A food system is only as strong as it is equitable. Charlottesville’s rate of food insecurity (18%) is nearly double that of Virginia overall. Many more citizens suffer from diet-related disease. All too often, there is a confluence of income, food access, and race/ethnicity which disadvantages entire communities. Increasing the availability and consumption of locally-grown fruits and vegetables is shown to be very effective in changing both of these paradigms, as local food retains high nutrient value, is culturally appropriate, and is in great supply in this region. Local Food Hub works to increase food access through community partnerships, the Fresh Farmacy: Fruit and Veggie Prescription Program, and farm to school initiatives.
  • Thought Leadership: Local Food Hub has been at the forefront of food system change for a decade. It hasn’t just talked about institutional sales – it has done it. It hasn’t just talked about working with schools – it has done it. And it hasn’t just talked about regional networks – it has created one. Local Food Hub will work to translate this experience into practical, actionable resources for the next generation of food system practitioners, as well as continuing to educate a public audience about the value of eating locally.
Primary Issue
Food
Address
PO Box 4647
Charlottesville, VA 22905
United States
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