LOCAL FOOD HUB

Providing access to farm sourced food for everyone

Charlottesvle, VA   |  http://www.localfoodhub.org

Mission

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. Our vision is that the knowledge and choice of local food becomes the norm, not the exception, for all segments of the community, and that small farms have a strong economic foothold in the marketplace.

Ruling year info

2010

Executive Director

Kristen Suokko

Main address

Po Box 4647

Charlottesvle, VA 22905 USA

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EIN

26-4137130

NTEE code info

Economic Development (S30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We live in the heart of an incredibly rich agricultural area, yet many small farmers can’t make a living, and large pockets of food insecurity and poor health still persist. Sourcing and eating food locally can go a long way toward changing this paradigm. What we do: -Provide free support services and training to farmers to ensure that they can be successful. -Run programs that increase access to fresh food for school children, low-income health patients, and other underserved populations.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Grower Services

Local Food Hub partners with more than 60 small family farmers throughout Central Virginia to increase community access to local food. While Local Food Hub believes that paying a fair price is the most important thing we can do for farmers, we also know that training, technical assistance, cost-share opportunities, and networking are all critical to helping reinstate small farms as the food source for the community.

Our Grower Services program helps partner farms learn to successfully navigate the wholesale marketplace and make their operations more financially viable. An annual workshop series focuses on farmer-chosen topics like pest management, financial planning, and season extension. Winter production planning helps farmers determine crop selection, planting selections, and price ranges so that they are able to take advantage of the “off” season and maintain a revenue stream all year long. And, regular farm visits ensure strong connections with growers and provide one-on-one guidance, assistance, and quality control.

Growers are feeling increasing pressure from buyers to meet stringent food safety standards, and new federal regulations governing farms are currently being implemented. To help growers stay ahead of the curve, Local Food Hub has developed an internal Quality Assurance Program. Growers receive training and support to create and implement customized food safety plans for their farms, and verification that they have met Local Food Hub standards.

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification, a government- and industry-recognized standard in food safety, is among the highest regarded credentials available. Because the certification process is challenging and there are high costs associated with compliance, Local Food Hub offers cost-share programs and training for growers interested in becoming GAP certified. Ten Local Food Hub growers have achieved GAP in 2015, thanks to the help of our hardworking Director of Grower Services, and join a handful of farms that already hold GAP certification. Get to know all of our growers and learn more about their on-farm practices.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Creating a vibrant, resilient local food system with small farms at its center takes a whole community working together. Our communities’ generosity and support allows Local Food Hub to partner with other area nonprofit organizations to ensure that the knowledge and choice of local food becomes the norm, not the exception, for all segments of the community.

By working with hunger-relief organizations and health clinics, Local Food Hub is getting fresh, nutritious food to those who need it most. And by partnering with youth organizations, school gardening programs, and after-school and summer cooking programs, Local Food Hub is educating a new generation of eaters about the value of eating fresh and local.

For many Virginians who rely on food assistance programs, local foods are often out of reach. The Emergency Food Network, which helps families in short-term food crisis, is seek­ing to change this paradigm, and has partnered with Local Food Hub to offer a regular supply of local fruits and vegetables to its clients. Local Food Hub also donates thousands of pounds of produce each year to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, so local food makes its way into feeding programs throughout the region.

The PB&J Fund is a nonprofit organization that works with Charlottesville youth to develop healthier eating habits. Local Food Hub provides fresh fruits and vegetables for its in-school, after-school, and summer cooking programs, and connects students to information about the farms where the food is grown.

Local Food Hub also partners with City Schoolyard Garden and Charlottesville City Schools on the Harvest of the Month: Garden to Table Snack Program. Every month, elementary school students receive a fresh, healthy snack featuring a locally sourced food item grown by Local Food Hub partner farms, as well as nutrition, garden, and culinary education to complement the snacks. The program is connecting students to their food and helping them develop lifelong eating habits, and is supported by a state grant to the Thomas Jefferson Health District.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Getting local foods into schools has benefits that go beyond the lunch tray. When students learn about their foods in the classroom, grow them in the school garden, and taste them in the cafeteria, they are more likely to make healthy choices at home and develop long-lasting nutrition habits. And, when schools invest their food dollars in the local economy, farmers, businesses, and the community all benefit.

Local Food Hub serves more than 70 public schools in eight districts, as well as private schools and universities. Over 40% of students in public schools qualify for free or reduced price meals, and many students rely on school food for their primary source of nutrition. Through snack programs, after-school and summer programs, and the National School Lunch Program, Local Food Hub provides access to farm sourced food for everyone.

We help nutrition directors identify opportunities to integrate locally grown produce into meals. Some start small by serving one ready-to-eat item per week, like fresh fruit, while others jump right in, serving butternut squash soup or meatloaf made with grass-fed ground beef and local vegetables.

We work with other nonprofits to create opportunities for students to learn about and taste new foods beyond the school day. The PB&J Fund offers after-school and summer programs that teach culinary and nutrition education, while City Schoolyard Garden teaches students how to grow and harvest their food.

Our Grower Services Program works with our partner farms to grow school-specific and kid-friendly foods, and assists farmers with implementing season extension techniques on their farm to ensure local produce is available all year.

Virginia Farm to School Week, organized by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, provides an opportunity for schools and partnering organizations to highlight efforts that are taking place throughout the year to source more school foods locally, and to provide educational activities to students that emphasize food, farming, and nutrition. These efforts have benefits that reach beyond the cafeteria since they make a lasting impact on the health and eating habits of the next generation, and farmers benefit from increased market opportunities now and into the future. The week is generally celebrated during the first full week of October.

Local Food Hub works closely with area school partners to develop exciting menus for Farm to School Week, and to organize enriching educational opportunities for students, such as taste tests, meet-the-farmer visits, and gardening activities.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

The Fresh Farmacy: Fruit and Veggie Prescription Program was established in 2015 to provide biweekly shares of local fruit and vegetables to those members of our community suffering from diet-related diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. In addition to the bounty in each share, participants receive program support materials designed to build confidence in cooking and eating locally and seasonally, plus tips for safe storage and handling of produce at home.

In partnership with several private and public employers, the successful program has expanded to include Fresh Farmacy: Workplace Wellness Program which is designed to complement an employer’s existing wellness and health initiatives. In this format, shares are delivered directly to the workplace, and participants receive digital resources to support a shift to local and seasonal cooking and shopping habits. Many workplace programs include photo and recipe contests, additional optional shares of eggs and cheese, and tasting events throughout the season. Local Food Hub distribution staff works closely with our partner farms to plan production of products that are well suited for direct-to-consumer programs, such as personal melons, pints of fruit and cherry tomatoes, and meal-portion sizes of green beans, fingerling potatoes and leafy greens. Shares are comprised of 6 to 8 seasonal, local items and always include several no-cook items like fruit and salad greens.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

-A new population of eaters connected to where their food comes from
-Reductions in diet-related diseases and improvements in public health
-New markets for the very smallest of this region’s family farms
-A system where farmers, customers, and the community are connected to one another and to the source of their food
-The efficient movement of food from small farms to the wholesale marketplace, and to those who need it most
-Sustainable land stewardship, enhanced public health, and a vibrant local economy
-Financial sustainability for Virginia’s small family farms
-Adoption of best practices and sustainable farming techniques
-Greater safety, transparency, nutrition, and taste in the region’s food supply

-Partnership: Local Food Hub works with every farm on production planning, marketing, food safety, product development, and more.
-Planning: Local Food Hub works year-round with its partner farms to help them plan crop selection, quantities, and price ranges so that they can maximize their investments and feel secure about their place in the market.
-Health: Partnering with area health clinics, Local Food Hub supplies free produce “prescriptions” to patients who are at risk for certain diet-related illnesses, along with recipes and cooking classes.
-Schools: Local Food Hub works with City Schoolyard Garden and Charlottesville City Schools on a monthly fresh snack program. It also works with nutrition directors in eight regional school districts, as well as private schools and universities, on local sourcing for their cafeterias.
-Hunger: Local Food Hub donates or supplies thousands of pounds of produce each year to area food banks and hunger relief organizations so that fresh, local food makes its way into feeding programs for those most in need.
-Safety: Local Food Hub has assisted 15 of its partner farms to achieve Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification, a government- and industry-recognized standard in food safety that is among the highest regarded credentials available.
-Quality: Local Food Hub has developed an internal Quality Assurance Program to help farmers navigate changes in food regulation and the demands of the wholesale marketplace.
-Quality: Local Food Hub maintains Good Handling Practices certification for its warehouse, an industry- and government-recognized standard in food safety that is among the highest regarded credentials available.

Local Food Hub has a well-qualified and experienced staff, as well as 10 years experience working with small farms and wholesale buyers. Due to our position in the food system, we are uniquely situated to work with all key groups to increase access to local food and support small family farmers.

Since our founding in 2009, we have:

-reinvested approximately 10M in the local economy
-partnered with 75+ local farmers and producers
-distributed food to hundreds of schools, grocery stores, restaurants, and more, throughout Virginia and into DC and Maryland
-worked with 7 health clinics to provide food access and education to hundreds of vulnerable community members and their families
-provided local food to thousands of Virginia schoolchildren through Farm to School and Harvest of the Month
-assisted 15 farms in attaining Good Agricultural Practices through technical support and cost-share
-provided farms throughout Virginia with critical food safety, technical, and planning support
-As of June 2019, merged distribution operations with a mission-aligned food hub in Northern Virginia, 4P Foods, promoting the development of a more efficient and sustainable food distribution network.

Financials

LOCAL FOOD HUB
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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LOCAL FOOD HUB

Board of directors
as of 7/8/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ken Kipps

College Foundation, University of Virginia

Term: 2020 -

Amy Yancey

Steve Bowers

Zooey Brown

Anna Payne Fife

Robin Gilliland

Martha Hodgkins

Julie King

Kristina Koutrakos

Wendy Philleo

John Blackburn

Kathryn Barker

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 5/14/2021,

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability