LOCAL FOOD HUB IMPACT REPORT 2016
From the Executive Director:
2016 was a tough year to be a farmer. Difficult weather conditions affected almost all of Local Food Hub’s partner farms, disrupting the supply of many of our region’s most popular fruits and vegetables. But with our community’s support, Local Food Hub was able to stand by these farmers. We helped them find alternative crops to offset their unexpected losses. We committed to purchase what they were able to grow. And, we distributed those harvests to those who needed it most.
Since 2009, Local Food Hub has been partnering with Virginia farmers to increase community access to local food – providing the support services, infrastructure, and marketing opportunities that connect people with food grown close to home. Together, we’re working to reinstate the small family farm as the food source for our community, and improving food access and public health along the way.
There is still much work to be done, but we’re pleased to share this report on all we were able to accomplish.
small family farms were provided with the training and technical assistance needed to be successful.
thousand pounds of fresh, Virginia-grown produce were distributed through Local Food Hub's partnerships.
low-income health clinic patients received access to fresh, local food and nutritional expertise.
school districts benefitted from fresh lunches and educational programming for the next generation of healthy eaters.
Local Food Hub partners with more than 60 small family farms in Virginia. While we believe paying a fair price is the most important thing we can do for farmers, we also recognize that training, technical assistance, cost-share opportunities, and networking are all critical to reinstating small farms as the food source for our community. Our full-time, on-staff farmer helps our partner farms learn to successfully navigate the wholesale marketplace and make their operations more financially viable.
partner farms have graduated from federally-mandated food safety trainings
First Virginia nonprofit certified to deliver federal food safety trainings.
Sarah Chiles of Crown Orchard was stymied when she learned that within a few short years their century-old family business would have to meet new federal regulations for food safety. But after participating in Local Food Hub’s training, she knew just what she would have to do to comply.
In 2016, Local Food Hub became the first Virginia nonprofit to deliver a federal food safety training under the new regulations. Eighteen partner farms have participated in training so far, with many more to come. In addition to identifying on-farm modifications and helping with recordkeeping, Local Food Hub also offers cost assistance for voluntary on-farm food safety audits.
We’re also helping our farms achieve certifications that will help make their businesses more competitive. Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Certification is an industry-recognized standard that represents best practices in farming and food handling. Achieving GAP enables our growers to sell to more customers as large institutions and retailers are demanding more GAP-Certified products.
Local Food Hub forges close relationships with local farmers, and provides services and infrastructure for the distribution of fresh, high-quality food. We are a regional leader in ensuring that small farms regain their economic foothold in the marketplace, and that the knowledge and choice of local food becomes the norm, not the exception, for all segments of our community. We work with every farm on production planning, marketing, food safety, product development, and more.
thousand pounds of pork products delivered to the UVA Health System in 2016
Connecting local farms with the UVA Health System and Student Dining.
In summer 2016, Polyface Farm in Augusta County found itself with an unexpected surplus of pasture-raised pork products. Meanwhile, the University of Virginia Health System was struggling to find a workable system for sourcing local products that meet its strict purchasing requirements. Local Food Hub put its infrastructure and experience to work, and delivered more than 7,000 pounds of pork products to the UVA Health System.
UVA Dining, which operates separately from the hospital, has also begun to incorporate Polyface pork sausage into their student dining menus. This has given Polyface Farm a consistent and reliable outlet for their pork, and alleviated their distribution and transportation burdens.
These are just the sorts of barriers Local Food Hub sought to break down when it was founded eight years ago, and we look forward to growing these relationships in the coming year.
Creating a vibrant, resilient local food system takes a whole community working together. We’re fortunate to partner with other area organizations to ensure that the choice of local food is available to all segments of the community. By working together, we’re putting fresh, nutritious food in the hands of those who need it most, and educating the next generation about the value of local food.
patients served by Fresh Farmacy
percent of patients lowered their blood pressure and/or reduced body weight
Our Fresh Farmacy: Fruit and Veggie Prescription Program is a partnership with three area health clinics that “prescribes” patients a biweekly supply of fresh fruits and vegetables, grown by our partner farms. The prescriptions include recipes and educational programs that help to encourage home cooking and develop familiarity with new foods, and seeks to develop a culture of healthy eating.
Now entering its third year, Fresh Farmacy has made remarkable changes in the health and lifestyles of many of the 90 patients it serves. In 2016, 75% of patients lowered their blood pressure and/or reduced body weight. Patients reported a change in clothing to smaller sizes, feeling more energized, a desire to take their health to the next level and add more exercise and other healthy habits, and a change in tastes to prefer fresh, healthy foods over less healthy, fried foods. The program benefitted entire households and patients reported their children, significant others, and other family members taking part in helping to make healthy choices, prepare home cooked meals, and learn more about healthy eating.
Local Food Hub strives to create a community in which the knowledge and choice of local food is the norm, not the exception. Education is key to making informed choices, and there is so much to learn about Virginia’s rich agricultural bounty and its many benefits.
students reached through Farm to School Week events
Our work with public and private schools seeks to educate the next generation of healthy eaters, and to get students excited about food, nutrition, and farming.
During Virginia Farm to School Week in October, farmers come into the cafeteria to chat with students, like the cattle farmer that raised the grass-fed ground beef used in their tacos, or the orchardist that oversaw the rows of Pink Lady Apples that are now slices on their lunch trays, or the grape grower that hand-pruned the grapes they are having for morning snack. When students have the opportunity to taste a product and learn about it, they are more likely to make healthy decisions in the future.
Just like when elementary students in Charlottesville City learned about apple cider. We played a game with students where they had to guess what ingredients were in the cider. Many guessed sugar, juice, or water, and were shocked to learn it was made from just apples. They were amazed to learn something so simple could taste so good!
With an innovative nonprofit structure, we rely on both community support and earned income from food sales to continue our programs. Your investment ensures small farms are always at the center of our work, and that our community has access to healthy, local food.
INVESTMENT IN FARMS
INVESTMENT IN COMMUNITY
(The total for increasing food access and making food donations in 2016.)
Network Administrator, Peabody School
Vice President for Marketing and Communications, Apex Clean Energy
Anna Payne Fife,
Senior Manager for Board, Executive and Strategic Initiatives, Share Our Strength
Principal and Acting CFO, Keller Enterprises
Faculty Member, Mountaintop Montessori School
LFH Partner Farmer, Hill Farm
Communications Director, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture
Vice President for Administration, University of Virginia College Foundation
Director of Portfolio Strategy, Virginia Retirement System
Former Executive Director, Center for a New American Dream
Local Food Hub’s farms represent the bounty and diversity of the Virginia foodshed. Some operate 100 acre farms, others less than five acres. They are certified organic and conventional farmers, orchardists and value added producers, and those new to farming as well as seasoned veterans.
We distribute their food to retail stores, restaurants, buying clubs, schools, universities, and other food businesses, including hospitals and senior centers. We want to make sure that all customers have access to fresh, local food where and when they want it. All products are identified by farm and county, so customers know exactly where their food was grown, developing a relationship from farm to table.