Volume 2, Issue 8
August 25, 2015
Local Food Hub News and Notes
Back to School!
As summer comes to a close and kids head back to school, local farmers are gearing up for one of the busiest times of the year! Central Virginia’s growing season is still going strong in the early fall, and school kids in Charlottesville and throughout the region will benefit from its bounty.
In school cafeterias from Greene County to Nelson County, students are eating local apples, begging for more broccoli, and tasting grass-fed beef. During the last school year, more than $36,000 worth of local produce and meat made its way into school cafeterias in six school districts. From helping farmers identify and grow school-specific items to handling delivery logistics, Local Food Hub is making the connections that make fresh, local food for schools possible. 
Virginia Farm to School Week is October 5 - 9, and now coincides with National Farm to School Month - a time to celebrate the efforts that are taking place throughout the year to get more local food into the hands of school children. Schools highlight new menu items and recipes in the cafeteria, and make connections in the classroom and school garden to help students learn about where their food comes from.

School chefs get creative, serving butternut squash soup, pastured beef meatloaf, and sweet potato fries made from local products. Students get to meet the farmers who grew the food, and learn about seasonality, growing practices, and the benefits of supporting local agriculture.

This work would not be possible without the generous support of our community. We hope you will support us this year to make the 2015 Virginia Farm to School Week even more healthy, delicious, and educationally rich.
Support Virginia Farm to School Week

Farmer Spotlight: Wenger Grape Farms

Last year at Brownsville Elementary School in Albemarle County, many kids got their first taste of slipskin grapes, an unusual variety that quickly became a student favorite!

The grapes were grown by Wenger Grape Farms, a family farm dating back to the Civil War. Today, 
Dave and Mim Wenger continue the family tradition in Augusta County with the help of their daughter Wendy, and her husband, Mark Hochstedler, where they primarily raise Concord and Niagara table grapes. With peak harvest times beginning in early September and lasting for just six weeks, the Wengers take full advantage by offering a pick-your-own experience on the farm, and sell to local retailers and wholesalers, at the Charlottesville City Market, and to wineries throughout the state. 

The Wengers began working with Local Food Hub in 2013, and in 2014 won our Pioneer in the Field Award, which recognizes a Virginia farmer who has demonstrated innovation in food system development through their work with Local Food Hub. The Wenger's grapes are a customer and staff favorite, and we eagerly wait their return at the end of this week! With Farm to School Week occurring in October this year, farm-fresh grapes should be in good supply for school cafeterias and taste testing events. Look for them at your favorite retailers starting next week, and make plans to visit their farm! Wendy will be participating in Farm to School Week activities, so you just may see her in your school cafeteria.

Featured Product: School-Ready Snacks

Late summer and early fall is one of the best times for delicious, easy-to-prepare local produce. Many items that are still in season or just coming to peak harvest make for the perfect on-the-go snack, school lunch, or family meal. With school nutrition directors gearing up for a healthful and fun Farm to School Week, our growers are working hard to harvest the best school-ready items. Farm to School Week has been moved to October this year (previously held in November), which means more of the local bounty will be available to schoolkids. Connect with your school cafeteria staff and nutrition directors about Farm to School Week, and encourage them to don the salad bar with mixed cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers, serve yummy snacks of Asian pears and apples, and create full meal lineups featuring kid-favorites like grass-fed beef, sweet potatoes, cooking greens, fall squash, and more.

Community Connection: Fresh Farmacy Continues into the Fall

Our Fresh Farmacy: Fruit and Veggie Prescription Program, a partnership with the Thomas Jefferson Health District and three area health clinics, has been extended through November, thanks to additional funding from the Health District and the state of Virginia, and your generosity! This program, which began in April, provides clinic patients and their families who are at risk for certain health-related illnesses, such as obesity and diabetes, with a biweekly supply of fresh, local produce. Thus far, more than 4,000 pounds of produce has been provided to 75 families, and nearly $19,000 has been kept in the local economy by sourcing these products from area farmers. We are thrilled to see this program extended, and excited to offer families the best of Virginia's fall bounty. 

Many of the families participating in Fresh Farmacy have students at Charlottesville City Schools, where the lessons they learned at home about healthy eating through this program will be reinforced all school year long. City Schoolyard Garden provides food and agriculture education in the garden and in the classroom, and The PB&J Fund provides culinary and nutrition education through their collaboration with The Boys and Girls Club. Farm to School Week will introduce students to new food and menu items and bring farmers into the cafeteria. We look forward to continuing these partnerships aimed at empowering our community with the knowledge of and access to local food.  

Workshop: Pest Management Field Day

Thursday, August 27, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 
Bellair Farm, Charlottesville, VA

Join us for an interactive workshop and field walk at Bellair Farm to learn about identifying and managing the major plant diseases and insect pests that affect vegetable and small fruit crops in Virginia. Dr. Steve Rideout, Extension Specialist of Plant Pathology and Director of Virginia Tech’s Agricultural Research and Extension Center at the Eastern Shore will lead the workshop. A group of graduate students from Virginia Tech who are involved in groundbreaking research on pollinator risks and pests, such as the brown marmorated stink bug, Mexican bean beetle, harlequin bug, flea beetles, and squash bug, will also provide their expertise.
The cost of this workshop is $25, and includes a delicious lunch from Great Harvest Bread Company. Please reserve your ticket
here. This workshop is free to Local Food Hub partner farms; please email adrianna@localfoodhub.org to RSVP (you do not need to purchase a ticket). 


Save the Date: Community Food Awards & 6th Birthday Celebration
Thursday, October 22, 5:30 p.m.
Local Food Hub Warehouse, Ivy, VA

Save the date for our annual Community Food Awards and sixth birthday celebration! The awards recognize farmers, businesses, and community partners for their commitment to local food, healthy communities, and Virginia agriculture. Following the ceremony, there will be a community meal, bonfire, s’mores, family-friendly activities, and a fun photo booth. To RSVP, email info@localfoodhub.org. This event is free and open to all. Read about last year's celebration 

Thank you to our first sponsor of this event, Crutchfield Corporation! For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Marisa Taylor at marisa@localfoodhub.org. 
Local Food Hub is a nonprofit organization that partners with Virginia farmers to increase community access to local food. After six years, we're still a thriving distribution network for local food, but we are also so much more: a leader in the farm to school movement, a donor to regional food banks, a guide for businesses, a resource for farmers, and a catalyst for fresh ideas for how our community feeds itself.

Join us in our efforts of providing access to farm sourced food for everyone. 
Copyright © 2015 Local Food Hub, All rights reserved.

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