Volume 3, Issue 2
February 29, 2016
Local Food Hub News and Notes
Help us honor Willie's commitment to local food and family farms, and keep our Virginia farms Live and Kickin'! Please consider joining us for an exclusive pre-show celebration and concert experience with this living legend of country music on Wednesday, May 25, at the Charlottesville nTelos Wireless Pavilion.

We've reserved the best seats in the house for our sponsors, and will host a delicious pre-concert party featuring food grown by our partner farms. Packages include admission to the party, a raffle to win a signed guitar, drink tickets for the show, and more. We hope you will join us for this exciting evening, and support our efforts to partner with Virginia farmers to increase community access to local food.
Buy Tickets!

Our Annual Partner Producer Meeting: Focus on Food Safety

At the start of each year, we gather our partner farmers and producers for an annual meeting. While we see and talk with many of our growers on a weekly basis, our annual meeting gives us the opportunity to discuss broader issues as a group, including trends and observations in the wholesale marketplace, updates in food safety, and strategies for future growth. Most importantly, it is an opportunity to gain helpful feedback from our most valuable stakeholders.

Last week, 30 of our partner farmers gathered in Charlottesville for a day-long training and planning session. Local Food Hub staff discussed product needs and expectations for the year ahead, including specific produce needs for our direct-to-consumer Fresh Farmacy and Farm to Workplace programs.

Most importantly, Professor and Extension Specialist Laura Strawn conducted an abridged food safety training in anticipation of a mandatory food safety training coming this fall, which is required by new federal regulations. Professor Strawn covered the ins and outs of the new federal regulations, known as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and helped our partner farms understand exemptions under this new law. She walked through best practices for water quality, land management, and product handling, and taught methods for identifying and rectifying potential threats to food safety. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch featuring products grown by many of the meeting attendees, and had time to chat informally and catch up with our growers.

We value this time each year when we have the opportunity to all be in the same room together. With many exciting things on the horizon for 2016, we look forward to working closely with our partner farms to continue to offer you the best locally grown products.

Fresh Farmacy Updates: Wintertime Cooking Program

To continue to build upon the healthy habits developed by clinic patients during the 2015 Fresh Farmacy: Fruit and Veggie Prescription Program, Sentara Starr Hill Health Center is leading a wintertime cooking program. About 36 patients from last year's program will participate in six cooking classes over the next several weeks, with each class focused on a healthy recipe and culminating in a group meal. Each patient will also receive a bag of fresh produce at the end of each class in order to replicate the recipe at home with their families and enjoy other fresh produce. The produce will be provided by Local Food Hub partner farms. Starr Hill will complement the cooking classes with nutrition education and other food literacy programs, and provide a wok to each participant to ensure families have the right tools at home to create healthy and delicious meals. Featured recipes will include sesame chicken with stir-fried rice and vegetables, and orange chicken with roasted sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots, and beets.

Local Food Hub looks forward to partnering on this important program while we continue to fundraise for full implementation of the 2016 Fresh Farmacy Program, which is set to launch in April. 

Workshop: Ins and Outs of Organic Certification for Your Farm

Date:Thursday, March 24
Time: 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Location: PVCC Stultz Center, 501 College Drive, Charlottesville, VA, Room 131
Cost: $10 (free for Local Food Hub partner farms)


Demand for certified organic produce continues to grow, and the National Organic Program (NOP) is the gold standard for providing customer assurance for your sustainable growing practices. Join us as Brian Rakita, Mid Atlantic Representative of Quality Certification Services (QCS), explains the benefits of organic certification, along with the potential costs and challenges. He will discuss decision making strategies, break down the process of working with a certifying agent, highlight NOP requirements, and provide information on cost-share opportunities. This workshop will help you decide whether pursuing organic certification could help your farm business stand out in an increasingly competitive “local foods” economy.

 
RSVP
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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