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New "Local Food Hub" Links Farmers to Distributors

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By Cheryn Stone

The Local Food Hub is a new non-profit organization in Albemarle County. Their mission is to get as much local food into the community as possible.

"What we're hoping to do is move product into avenues that were previously under-served by local growers, and enable that dollar to flow directly back into the hands of the farmer," said Alan Moore.

The Local Food Hub has a new refrigerated warehouse in Ivy, where they receive produce from area farms. The main areas they serve include Charlottesville, Albemarle, Nelson, Fluvanna, and Greene counties.

While they do not sell directly to the public, the fresh, local-grown food does not stay on the shelves. Workers move the product through local food distributors, such as restaurants, schools, senior centers, or caterers.

"One of the things we're offering is logistical planning and coordination. Whether it's outreach to chefs, caterers, or anyone who is looking to buy food, we can help reach out to them and help plan what's needed and determine the best dollar return for farmers," said Moore.

According to the Virginia Farm Bureau, agriculture is the state's leading industry, bigger than tourism, and this food hub is an example of success in supporting the local farmer.

"Not just the growers who produce this food, but the businesses who use this food. Of course, in the end, the consumer that buys it from the business. So, it's a win-win all around," said Sherri McKinney, of the Virginia Farm Bureau.

Food that cannot be distributed from the warehouse to local buyers will go to soup kitchens or the food bank.

Moore says the new non-profit is asking people to contribute. They are fundraising to pay for a freezer so they can start storing meat products. They are also encouraging people to volunteer, grow food, and ask for locally grown food when they buy.


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