Charlottesville is known for having an awesome food scene, with a ton of local farmers featured on menus throughout town, and an infamous Farmer’s Market. In fact, as a part of Tom Tom this past week, a ton of restaurants featured farm-to-table menus.
As I was sitting at Orzo reading their farm-to-table selection, I realized that I had always just assumed that the restaurants, schools and other buyers just got their food directly from the farmers. It turns out I was wrong — no shocker there.
It turns out a nonprofit is the source of most local food here in Charlottesville. The Local Food Hub connects over 70 local farmers with customers in DC, Northern Virginia, Richmond and the Shenandoah Valley. They buy straight from the farmers, store the food in their warehouse on Ivy, and distribute it to the over 80 customers including UVA and Greens to Grounds.
The Local Food Hub also holds workshops and has a “growers services” program to make sure that the farmers they work with know sustainable practices that will help ensure their lasting success.
The Local Food Hub was started in 2009 to meet the growing needs of the local food community. Farmers were having a hard time consistently meeting the needs of their end customers. So, the Local Food Hub was born.
It has grown tremendously over the past seven years. It now operates a farm-to-school program in over 70 schools. Thinking back to my cafeteria days, I wish something like this had been around because we really did need some fresher ingredients.
More recently, it partnered with Fresh Farmacy to provide fruit and vegetables “prescriptions” to at-risk residents. Patients and three local clinics get access to fresh local produce twice each month in the hopes of changing their diets.
The Dave Matthews Band and Willie Nelson have also shown their support for this unique non-profit. The Dave Matthews Band gave a sizable grant to the organization, and Willie Nelson is having a benefit concert for Local Food Hub on May 25. If you would like to show your support, you can donate, go to the concert, or simply try to buy locally the next time you can.