As we continue planning for the 2017 season, we need feedback from our partner farms! Please take our brief 10-15 minute survey to help us better serve you and get more local food to those who need it most. We bid farewell to our Sales Associate, Will Clark, as he takes on new endeavors, and information about upcoming conferences including VABF Farming Conference and Southern SAWG Conference in Lexington, KY.
Local Food Hub hosts the first PSA Grower Training in Virginia, plus upcoming winter work sessions on GAP Certification and FSMA compliance, and Southern SAWG Conference in Lexington, KY, in January 2017.
Important information about the November FSMA training, an invitation to our Community Food Awards, and congratulations to the 2016 Innovation in Agriculture Award winners: Riverside Produce Farm and Yoders’ Farm!
Details about Local Food Hub’s November FSMA training for all partner farms, Innovation in Agriculture applications, and the Southern SARE Producer Grant opportunity for VA farmers and ranchers to address agricultural production and marketing challenges.
Learn about Local Food Hub’s food access programs that aim to get more fresh fruits and vegetables to those who need it most, plus value-added options from Virginia Food Works, and new resources for FSMA.
With summertime production in full swing, we have a few purchasing, receiving, and crop specification reminders. We hope to maximize purchasing, minimize confusion at the point of receiving, and keep our customers satisfied. Plus, Farm Aid is coming to Bistow, VA, this September, and special farmer tickets are available.
This past month has been busy with many of our partner farms either renewing their USDA GAP certifications, or in some cases going through the process for the first time. This past month has been busy with many of our partner farms either renewing their USDA GAP certifications, or in some cases going through the process for the first time. Learn more about our GAP certified growers, and see details about our upcoming workshops.
A call for input on bulk purchasing of Sanidate 5.0 by Local Food Hub, plus the announcement of FSA Farm Storage Loans expanded to include portable storage and handling equipment.
Highlights of our upcoming workshops, Value-Added Producer Grant opportunity from USDA, and helpful information for identifying and treating bacterial canker on tomatoes.
A recap of our annual partner producer meeting, which included an important Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) training. Plus, Local Food Hub launches a new farmer workshop series with Bellair Farm, an 800+ acre Certified Organic production farm in Albemarle County, and releases a full workshop schedule.
There have been significant delays at FDA to approve the Produce Safety Alliance training curriculum for farmers on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The curriculum was slated to roll-out in January 2016, but we just received notice that it may not be available until September. As we have detailed previously, farm operations that fall under FSMA are required to take an FDA approved training – and now it looks like we will not be able to host that training until fall 2016. However, we are moving ahead with our annual grower meeting and food safety training on February 25. More details about our annual partner producer meeting are included.
As you plan for the 2016 season, consider whether GAP certification would be a worthwhile investment and learn about the support services LFH offers. We continue our breakdown of the Produce Rule (FSMA) by looking at on-farm use of water and biological soil amendments. Local businesses – old and new – that offer supplies and services for farmers are highlighted.
With the Thanksgiving season upon us, Local Food Hub extends its deepest appreciation for the hard work of our partner farms to strengthen our regional food system. FSMA/The Final Produce Safety Rule will be the focus of our annual grower meeting in 2016, which will be held on February 25. Our 2015 workshop series has come to a close and we are now soliciting input for the 2016 series.
The FDA has released its FSMA training strategy and is rolling out final rules in the coming month. Southern SARE Producer Grants, ranging from $10,000 – $15,000, fund opportunities for innovation and problem solving. Local Food Hub will host three Grower Services Workshops in October and additional regional opportunities, workshops, and events are coming up as well. LFH’s annual Community Food Awards will be on October 22.
Local Food Hub’s work with partner farms to assist in the transition to GAP certification has culminated in nine partner farms achieving the certification. Bundoran Farm by Natural Retreats will again sponsor the 2015 Innovation in Agriculture Award. Additional news covers the expansion of USDA’s Farm Storage Facility Loan Program, VDACS warnings about poultry flocks’ vulnerability to avian flu, and upcoming workshops and events.
Prior to September 2015, newsletters were published on a bi-annual basis:
Fresh Farmacy, led by the Thomas Jefferson Health District in partnership with three area health clinics, “prescribes” fresh local food to at risk families. Sustainable agriculture workshops in March and April will focus on high tunnels and multi-species grazing. Weekly purchasing schedule and delivery reminders are also included.
Exciting events in this season include Farm to School Week, the Community Food Awards, Local Food Hub’s 5th Birthday celebration. Learn more about FSMA updates, as well as LFH programs related to quality assurance and our cost-share for water testing and GAP certification.
Food safety highlights include changes to FSMA and information about both FSA loans and required water testing. Workshops this season cover value-added processing, building soil fertility, planning for winter production, and pest management.
Workshops in February and March will focus on managing farms for profit and soil stewardship. Water safety tests are due on March 15 in accordance with Local Food Hub’s policy requiring annual water tests for growers using underground or surface water in any aspect of production.
Online resources provide information about great farming organizations, regional conferences, and communications networks. Workshops in December and February will be about providing for the full eating season and agricultural marketing. Local Food Hub’s 100% tax deductible sponsorship packages give partner farms the opportunity to put their logo on LFH trucks.
Local Food Hub will continue to help partner growers through understanding and operating in compliance with the Food Safety and Modernization Act and its subsequent amendments. Two upcoming workshops will discuss ecological pest management and GAP training.
Workshops this season will focus on high tunnels, GAP training, and making money on the farm. The 2nd Annual Community Food Awards celebrates the hard work of our partner producers. Also, be sure to check out Local Food Hub’s online resource library!
Local Food Hub continues to be actively involved in the community. Recently, it introduced UVa students to farm life at Maple Hill, hosted the second annual Taste of the Farm event, expanded its partnership with UVa’s Medical Center, and partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Central Virginia to host pop-up farmers markets. Join us this summer for workshops about cover crops, high tunnels, and GAP training.