LOCAL FOOD HUB ANNUAL REPORT 2019

Dear Friends of Local Food Hub,

During  2019, Virginia’s small, independently-owned farms sold 25 percent more food into the local market — a direct result of Local Food Hub and 4P Foods working together to rethink how local food gets to consumers. That’s just one major step toward making local farms the centerpiece of our food economy that we feature in this 2019 impact report.

True to our mission, Local Food Hub is transforming how we value, grow, and eat food. We do this by working at the intersections of small-scale farming, the marketplace, the community, and good food policy. 

For despite all the advances in local food, small farms continue to be challenged by a warming climate, a more competitive marketplace, decreasing availability of land, and federal regulations. Local Food Hub brings 10 years of experience in farmer support, market access, and big-picture thinking to this changing landscape. 

We are a hub for all Virginia communities seeking more resilient food systems. We build capacity for growers, identify and nurture market opportunities for small farms, develop and manage food access programs, and advocate for good food policies at all levels of government. 

Please read on for more information about where we’ve been and where we’re going, and learn how you can join us in supporting better food and farmers for a better world. 

Warmly,

Kristen Suokko, Executive Director

We’ve accomplished a lot this year.

partner farms and producers

thousand dollars of fresh, Virginia-grown produce was distributed through Fresh Farmacy

participants enrolled in Fresh Farmacy: Fruit and Veggie Prescription Program

percent of partner farms maintained or increased their sales

Here is a summary of our work to support small family farms and healthy communities.
How it Works 















FARM SUPPORT

2019 REFLECTIONS:

Local Food Hub’s Director of Grower Services, Stasia Greenewalt, hit the ground running her first year on the job. She applied her science and farming background to the task of food safety, becoming an expert in the new laws and requirements facing small farmers. She is now certified to lead Produce Safety Alliance training, a daylong course required for all partner farms. She also helped two partner farms achieve the highest level of food safety certification, Harmonized Good Agricultural Practices–a time-consuming and costly process. And she began production planning with several partner farms, which is critical to success in the wholesale market.

hours of direct farm support

2020: A Look Ahead

Many more partner farms will benefit from Local Food Hub’s Grower Services program in 2020. Expanded offerings include:

– Grower-buyer meet-ups to create new market opportunities for farms

– Ongoing production planning to prepare for the 2020 growing season

– Technical support for food safety certification

– Financial support to help cover the costs of certification

– “Rules to Reality” training (in partnership with Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension), focused on translating regulations into actionable steps for farms

“”

After deciding we wanted our first food safety audit to be the challenging Harmonized GAP, I was able to work with Stasia to implement the systems and create the manual. Her assistance was invaluable.  We passed with flying colors and now we are prepared to pursue new markets!

Lee o’neill, radical roots farm

DISTRIBUTION

2019 REFLECTIONS:

In 2019, Local Food Hub and 4P Foods completed a deal that is making the connections between local, farm-fresh food and consumers more scalable, more efficient, and more able to compete with the industrial food system. In June 2019, 4P Foods acquired Local Food Hub’s distribution business, marrying Local Food Hub’s strengths in farmer relationships and product knowledge with 4P’s strengths in logistics, market development, and sales. The arrangement gave Local Food Hub an equity stake in 4P Foods and included purchasing guarantees for all of Local Food Hub’s traditional partner farms. As a result, Virginia’s family farms have seen a 25 percent increase in purchases over the same period last year, and several more have joined the network.

percent increase in purchases from partner farms

2020: A Look Ahead

Although Local Food Hub no longer directly distributes food, as a standalone nonprofit, it is fully leveraging its ten years of experience to help more farms reach more markets than ever. On the grower side, we help farmers plan their production, provide food safety and other training, and stay on the leading edge of market developments and demands so that farms don’t have to. On the buyer side, we provide the education, farm knowledge, and unbiased advice that help make choosing local easy. Working with partners such as the Piedmont Environmental Council and the Sustainability Task Force at the University of Virginia, we’re certain that this year will see more local food in more institutions than ever before.

“”
To truly impact the way we feed ourselves in this country, we must continually innovate ways to get good food from family farms to market in a more efficient and cost-effective way. This acquisition helps move us closer toward that goal
TOM MCDOUGALL, 4P FOODS

COMMUNITY AND POLICY 

2019 REFLECTIONS:

In 2019, Local Food Hub played an instrumental role in discussions and coalitions focused on food justice, our regional foodshed, public health and nutrition, and local purchasing in Virginia universities. Among other things, Local Food Hub served on the steering committee for the Local Food Local Places initiative supported by the Environmental Protection Agency, participated in conversations and conferences focused on race and equity in agriculture, and served on the Sustainability Task Force at the University of Virginia and the Virginia Food System Council.

attendees at the Community Food Awards

2020: A Look Ahead
In the coming year, Local Food Hub will continue to work at the intersections of small farming, market opportunities, and good food policies. We’re assisting in the development of a network of food hubs around the region, working on state policies to better help farmers, and amplifying the positive environmental impacts of small-scale agriculture. 
“”
Local Food Hub has been a crucial partner for the Charlottesville Food Justice Network.  As collaborators they continue to bring in the perspectives of farmers and the role food hubs play in cultivating economic vitality within our local food system, while also speaking to equitable food access for low-wealth families with their Fresh Farmacy Program. Local Food Hub’s leadership within the Network continues to be an important driver for the change we wish to see.

shantell bingham, charlottesville food justice network

FOOD ACCESS

2019 REFLECTIONS:

In 2019, its fifth year, the Fresh Farmacy Fruit and Veggie Prescription Program served more people than ever before at six sites throughout Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Nearly 300 participants enrolled in the program, and it expanded to include the Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Nutrition program (WIC) in the Southwood neighborhood. Materials were made available in Spanish for the first time. Data continued to indicate that participants increased their fruit and vegetable consumption, experienced health improvements, and made long-term changes to their wellness habits.

We also continued participation in farm to school efforts, including Harvest of the Month at Charlottesville City Schools, and Farm to School Week activities throughout Virginia.

health clinics participating in Fresh Farmacy

2020: A Look Ahead

In 2020, Local Food Hub is focused on three aspects of Fresh Farmacy: increasing enrollment, developing more robust evaluation tools, and piloting a “graduation” program to ensure that the benefits of and opportunities for eating fresh, local food last well beyond the program. We also will partner with other communities interested in adopting Fresh Farmacy in their region. 
“”

Fresh Farmacy bags “usually have things I had never experienced before like sprouts and veggies. It was interesting to experiment with new things…and I really liked it. The recipes helped me learn how to cook things I didn’t know how to before.”

Fresh farmacy participant

 

As a nonprofit, we rely on community support 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.
Board of Directors

Local Food Hub benefits from a talented Board of Directors who provide strategic guidance and expertise to support our mission.

Kathryn Barker,
Network Administrator, Peabody School

John Blackburn, Associate Director of Philanthropy, The Nature Conservancy

Steve Bowers,
Vice President for Marketing and Communications, Apex Clean Energy

Kate Collier, Owner, Feast! Ex Officio

Anna Payne Fife,
Senior Manager for Board, Executive and Strategic Initiatives, Share Our Strength

Eric Gertner, Owner, Feast! Ex Officio

Robin Gilliland,
Principal and Acting CFO, Keller Enterprises

Tom McDougall, Founder and CEO, 4P Foods

Elizabeth Beasley, Community Relations Lead, UVA Health Systems

Martha Hodgkins,
Communications Director, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

Julie King, Attorney, Ex Officio 

Megan Kingdon, Nurse Practitioner, Ex Officio

Ken Kipps,
Vice President for Administration, University of Virginia College Foundation
Kristina Koutrakos,
Director of Portfolio Strategy, Virginia Retirement System
Wendy Philleo,
Executive Director, Generation 180

Ronnie Webb, President, The Green Scheme

Stephen Byrd

LOCAL FOOD HUB STAFF

In 2019, Local Food Hub was pleased to welcome Stasia Greenewalt, former board member, to the staff as Director of Grower Services. Portia Boggs stepped into the role of Director of Advancement and Communications. Laura Brown returned to her roots, transitioning from a brief stint in sales at 4P Foods, to become Director of Community and Policy at Local Food Hub. All other sales and distribution staff now work for 4P Foods, out of the warehouse in Ivy. 

The Local Food Hub team is small but mighty and we ended 2019 able to serve our partners and our community better than ever before.

Our Partner Farms 

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. 

Your support provides healthy futures for our community.
The work we have accomplished together is thanks to your partnership and commitment to a stronger, more resilient food system. Thank you for supporting small family farms and healthy communities!