December 30, 2016
Volume 18, Issue 3
Local Food Hub News and Notes
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A Few of Our Favorite Things! 

As 2016 comes to a close, we're reflecting on the past year and feeling so grateful for our community's support and partnership. Virginia farmers faced a variety of challenges this year, including regulatory changes and unexpected weather. Through it all, we stood by our partner farms, thanks to you, and our partner farms stood by us and found creative ways to get fresh, healthy food to those who need it most. Here are a few of our favorite memories from 2016:

Cooking Up Healthy Prescriptions

We began 2016 partnering on healthy cooking classes for our Fresh Farmacy patients, aimed at developing basic culinary skills utilizing fresh, local produce. The classes built upon the healthy habits developed among patients in the Fresh Farmacy Program, and sought to keep participants engaged and excited about healthy eating during the winter. We look forward to strengthening the program in 2017!

 Bringing the Farm to the Hospital and the University

During the summer, we broke a barrier and brought pasture-raised local pork to the University of Virginia Health System by partnering with Polyface Farm in Augusta County. The hospital has strict food buying requirements that are more rigorous than many small family farms can navigate alone, and Local Food Hub has been hard at work since our founding to build this relationship.

Since this successful partnership, UVA Dining, which has a separate purchasing entity from the hospital, has also begun to incorporate Polyface pork sausage into their student dining menus. This has given Polyface Farm a consistent and reliable outlet for their pork, and we've alleviated their distribution and transportation burdens. 

Thus far, we've delivered about 7,700 pounds of pastured-raised pork to UVA Hospital and UVA Dining! We look forward to expanding this partnership in 2017 and bringing more fresh, local foods to university students and hospital visitors. 

Leading the Way in Food Safety Training

This fall, Local Food Hub became the only nonprofit in Virginia to acquire training credentials under a new federal food safety law to conduct a required training for farmers. In November, we successfully trained and graduated 18 of our partner farms, and have additional trainings scheduled for early 2017 that will be open to all Virginia farmers. 

Bringing the Farm to School 

In October, we brought the farm to six public school districts and one private school in celebration of Virginia Farm to School Week. Schools peppered their lunch trays with over 8,000 pounds of local fruit, veggies, and pastured beef. Cafeteria kitchens got creative with this bounty to create meals like Italian baked spaghetti with beef meatballs, steamed broccoli, mashed potatoes with grilled peppers and onions, Italian baked squash, fresh salads, and more.

We also brought farmers into the cafeteria, conducted taste tests, and even participated in a cooking class that quick pickled beets, turnips, carrots, and peaches (pictured below, left)! Farm to School Week 2017 (October 2-6) will be here before you know it, and promises to be just as delicious and full of local food fun!

Above photo courtesy of Camden Littleton. 

Honoring Our Partner Farms, Businesses, and Community Organizations

Over 150 of you came to our annual Community Food Awards celebration in October, where we honored 12 awardees for their commitment to increasing access to local food and supporting Virginia farmers. Read more about all of the award winners here.

The evening was a wonderful celebration of our partner farms, customers, and community leaders that work with us to build a delicious and resilient local food system. We enjoyed a delicious community meal, featuring food grown by our partner farms, a bonfire, live music, a fun photo booth, and plenty of good conversation and comradery. Stay tuned about details for our next award celebration in October 2017! 

Below photos courtesy of Charlottesville Tomorrow. 

Thank You!

These highlights, and all of the work we accomplished this year, were possible because of your support and commitment to strengthening our local food system. If you haven't had a chance to support us in 2016, please donate today. 

We look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in 2017!
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Local Food Hub is a nonprofit organization that partners with Virginia farmers to increase community access to local food. After seven 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. 
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