Grower Services

Local Food Hub partners with more than 60 small family farmers throughout Virginia to increase community access to local food. While Local Food Hub believes that paying a fair price is the most important thing we can do for farmers, we also know that training, technical assistance, cost-share opportunities, and networking are all critical to helping reinstate small farms as the food source for the community.

Increasing Viability

Our Grower Services program is managed by a talented, on-staff farmer who helps partner farms learn to successfully navigate the wholesale marketplace and make their operations more financially viable. An annual workshop series focuses on farmer-chosen topics like pest management, financial planning, and season extension. Winter production planning helps farmers determine crop selection, planting selections, and price ranges so that they are able to take advantage of the “off” season and maintain a revenue stream all year long. And, regular farm visits ensure strong connections with growers and provide one-on-one guidance, assistance, and quality control.

Ensuring Quality and Safety

Growers are feeling increasing pressure from buyers to meet stringent food safety standards, and new federal regulations governing farms are currently being implemented. To help growers stay ahead of the curve, Local Food Hub has developed an internal Quality Assurance Program. Growers receive training and support to create and implement customized food safety plans for their farms, and verification that they have met Local Food Hub standards.

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification, a government- and industry-recognized standard in food safety, is among the highest regarded credentials available. Because the certification process is challenging and there are high costs associated with compliance, Local Food Hub offers cost-share programs and training for growers interested in becoming GAP certified. Ten Local Food Hub growers have achieved GAP in 2015, thanks to the help of our hardworking Director of Grower Services, and join a handful of farms that already hold GAP certification. Get to know all of our growers and learn more about their on-farm practices.

“We really appreciate the effort and time Local Food Hub spent in helping us through the GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certification process. Establishing a new farm is challenging, and working with Local Food Hub has provided us with a reliable market outlet for our crops and additional support to ensure our produce meets industry standards for quality and safety. We are excited to expand our production and have already seen larger weekly sales this season. We could not have done it alone.”
– Petr and Marina Dronov, Sunnyfield Farm

“Working with Local Food Hub lifts the burden of having to contact individual buyers, which allows me to focus on growing the best possible produce. It’s heartening to know that my veggies are making their way to not only top local restaurants, but also to local families in need. I’m grateful to have this valuable resource in our community.”
– Brian Witmer, Witmer Farm

Your Support

Providing Virginia farmers with the necessary training and technical assistance relies on support from individual donors. If you would like to help build a resilient and sustainable local food system, please donate today, or contact Kristen Suokko at (434) 244-0625 or kristen@localfoodhub.org.

Thank you, Local Food Hub supporters!

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