Don’t you love it when you hear about a really good idea… a concept that is so brilliant it pops itself immediately and comfortably in your mind as if it had been there forever? That’s how I would describe my first impression of the Local Food Hub.
Started two years ago by Charlottesville area residents Kate Collier and Marisa Vrooman, the organization was set up to connect the dots between small local farmers and community buyers -- restaurants, schools, retailers, hospitals and institutions. The layers of good sense behind the group’s goals are multiple.
First and foremost, the work of the Local Food Hub helps to support and sustain regional agriculture. If we want farming to continue to be a way of life for families in our community, this is obviously a very smart move. If we want our children (and their children) to understand and appreciate where real food comes from – not a can or a plastic bag -- this is not only wise, but vital. No farms – no fresh food.
Add to that, the Local Food Hub saves time. Farmers are often too busy to market and deliver their goods around town, and buyers don’t always search out fresh local food if it isn’t fast or convenient for them. With the Local Food Hub serving as the liaison between growers and buyers -- delivering the food right to the buyer’s door – farmers can focus on producing food and buyers have no excuse not to “buy local.” Makes sense to me. And it works!
Over the past two years, the Local Food Hub has helped to put $750,000 into the hands of local food producers while partnering with other like-minded groups in the area to provide fresh fruits and vegetables in our schools and hospitals. They’ve also established Farmer’s Markets at businesses and after-school programs around Charlottesville, helping to provide healthy food alternatives.
As if that isn’t enough, the Local Food Hub also does a little farming of its own. With the help of apprentices and high-school interns, not only are they working to keep our existing agricultural community alive, they are honing and educating the next generation of farmers. And what do they do with the produce they grow on the Local Food Hub farm? They donate 25% of it to food banks.
I don’t know about you, but my 10 year old son would call this a “no-brainer.”
To learn more about the Local Food Hub and other exciting Charlottesville area topics, tune into Season 5 of Charlottesville Inside-Out on WHTJ PBS and WCVE PBS Thursday nights starting November 10th at 8:30 p.m.