Local Food Hub

Posted by on Oct 20, 2016 | Comments Off on Local Food Hub

Local Food Hub

Founded in 2009, Local Food Hub was CSG’s first fiscal sponsor, and is one of our earliest partners. We have grown together since CSG’s launch in 2010. Today, CSG and Local Food Hub (LFH) work closely together to host our Harvest of the Month program with Charlottesville City Schools (CCS) Nutrition department. Each month, CSG’s Program Coordinator, Kim Nguyen, works with Lisa Reeder at LFH and Carlton Jones at CCS to source the featured crop from area growers, ensure we have the right quantity for 2,500+ youth who will receive the snack and invest the time and energy to prep and deliver the product to those excited students.

CSG is deeply grateful for our partnership with Local Food Hub on so many levels and wanted to share a bit about LFH’s history and Food Access Focal Area.

THE LOCAL FOOD HUB STORY

Local Food Hub grew out of a community need for a connection between small farmers and the demand for locally-sourced food. They were one of the first food hubs in the nation and their innovative vision inspired the now more than 300 food hubs around the country. Local Food Hub strives to partner with Virginia farmers to increase community access to locally-grown food and provide the support

localfoodhub2needed to connect the community with these small farmers. Food access is one of the most critical components of their mission, and drives their strong partnership with CSG. Kristen Suokko, the Executive Director of Local Food Hub, emphasizes that the organization strives to “get to a place where having the choice of fresh and local food is the norm, not the exception, for everyone in the community.” The strong food access system at Local Food Hub has taken years to build up, because it “requires everyone to be involved and rebuild relationships all along the food chain.” They have had to address the balance between food access and fair wage for farmers, and build an understanding in the community of what locally-sourced food actually costs. Although this is a difficult task, Local Food Hub has become incredibly robust, with 250 accounts purchasing produce from over 80 local growers.

 

phantom-hill_washing-lettuce

Local Food Hub is also part of the Charlottesville Food Justice Network, and partners with several organizations to help achieve CSG’s mission of providing children with healthy produce. One of the components of their food access approach include helping us obtain healthy snacks for children for our Harvest of the Month program. They also partner with the Fresh Farmacy Program, which provides patients suffering health-related illnesses prescriptions for healthy food, and the PB&J Fund, which allows students to deliver produce to consumers that have paid upfront for local produce, and to learn marketing and entrepreneurship skills while also learning about our local food system. Finally, they host robust Virginia Farm to School Week programs, working with the surrounding Charlottesville counties to ensure that they have local food on their menus during the week.

walnut-winds_zucchini2-1

 

Each year, LFH honors community partner achievements and in 2015 City Schoolyard Garden was fortunate to receive the 2015 Community Partner -Local Food Hub Community Food Award with our partners at Charlottesville City Schools. Seen here with from left Kristen Suokko, Jim Henderson (CCS Associate Superintendent), Aleen Carey (CSG Board Chair), Laura Brown (Local Food Hub) and Jeanette Abi-Nader (CSG Executive Director).

img_8461 img_8459

Local Food Hub is one of CSG’s most valued partnerships. Through their tireless work to bring locally sourced food to Charlottesville, they help us expand food access and support local farmers every day! Learn more at their website. 

krisen-suokkoslisa-reeder

(pictured on left: Kristen Suokkos; Executive Director of Local Food Hub. Pictured on right: Lisa Reeder; Food and Farm Access Coordinator)

*all images are provided by Local Food Hub