Local Food Hub is excited to announce a partnership we believe will positively impact our local food system. After months of careful consideration, Local Food Hub and 4P Foods, a mission-aligned company committed to the growth of the local food movement, have finalized a merger of our distribution operations only.
The merger marries Local Food Hub’s strengths in farmer relationships and product knowledge with 4P’s strengths in logistics, market development, and sales. Currently, the U.S. food system is dominated by large, industrial, and international players, disadvantaging small farmers and eaters alike. Local Food Hub and 4P Foods were both founded to right this wrong—namely, to build a more equitable food system in which small farmers can thrive and more people can gain access to well-grown food from their region. This merger helps move us closer toward that goal.
Our warehouse in Ivy will remain open, our same partner farms will enjoy even greater market access and fair prices, and the buyer experience will not change. Most importantly, Local Food Hub will continue to exist as a nonprofit organization, doubling down on its programs for helping farmers with training and certifications, developing healthier food options for schools and health care institutions, and expanding its Fresh Farmacy and other high-impact food access programs.
We’ve tried to anticipate some of your questions below, and please feel free to reach out to us for more information.
Who is 4P Foods?
4P Foods was formed in 2014 as a for-profit and mission-driven business serving individual consumers. 4P has a dual mission: to help support small farmers by giving them access to new markets, while also working to ensure that all people have access to the healthy food produced by these farmers. As a direct-to-consumer food hub, 4P Foods aggregates food from small family farms throughout the region and delivers it to households, offices, and community centers in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. 4P Foods has been a long-time customer and partner of Local Food Hub.
Distribution has been central to Local Food Hub’s model. Why did it feel the need to spin off its distribution arm?
To truly impact the way we feed ourselves in this country, we must continually innovate ways to get good food from family farms to market in a more efficient, scalable, cost-effective way. Unique coalitions of nonprofit organizations, for-profit companies, investors and foundations are coming together to break down the barriers to making good food available to everyone. This is one example of that.
What is going to be core to LFH’s work in future without distribution?
Local Food Hub will continue to provide the services and community support services it has also come to be known for. These include:
-Training and technical assistance to Virginia farmers to help them navigate the evolving food marketplace
-Food safety certification and cost-share programs for those farmers
-Networking opportunities for growers and producers
-Expanding access to fresh, local food for underserved populations, especially through the signature Fresh Farmacy: Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program
-Developing new inroads into and programs with schools, health clinics, and other institutions
-Partnerships with other community groups focused on food equity and agriculture
-Thought leadership on the future of local food systems
Will Local Food Hub be based in Northern Virginia now? Will there still be a warehouse in Charlottesville?
The warehouse in Ivy, just outside of Charlottesville, will remain open. The addition of 4P Foods’ warehouse in Vint Hill, Virginia will greatly expand the infrastructure for local food and allow for the efficient servicing of markets in and around Washington, DC, as well as the rest of the state and region.