Local Food Hub and 4P Foods have taken a major step towards increasing support for small farms and access to local food.
Over the summer, Local Food Hub and 4P Foods finalized a merger of their distribution operations. Local Food Hub is a nonprofit organization that was founded to partner with Virginia farmers to increase community access to local food. 4P Foods is a direct to consumer food hub that connects consumers in the DC metro area with good food from small family farms. This 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.
“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 and cost-effective way. This merger helps move us closer toward that goal,” said Tom McDougall, Founder and CEO of 4P Foods.
“This partnership highlights the progress we’ve made in building a strong local food system over the last decade. 4P is opening more opportunities for small farms to sell their food and for customers to access that food than ever before. And Local Food Hub is doubling down on the farmer services and community programs that make a food system resilient and equitable,” said Kristen Suokko, Executive Director of Local Food Hub.
Local Food Hub continues to exist as a nonprofit organization, providing training and technical assistance to farmers and managing critical food access programs that get healthy, local food to those who need it most in our community. 4P Foods operates the warehouse in Ivy and other distribution infrastructure, and continues to provide the same great service that the region’s small farms and food buyers are used to.
In the first several months of this new arrangement, purchases from small family farms in our region have increased by twenty-seven percent compared to the same period last year. And school systems throughout Virginia are benefiting from an enhanced distribution system during Virginia Farm to School Week this week.
Farm to School sales include: peaches, pears, and apples from Saunders Brothers, gluten-free breads from Orange Dot Baking Company, pastured pork from Papa Weaver, pastured beef from Seven Hills Food Company, grapes from Wenger Grape Farm, greens from Schuyler Greens Company, and so much more. Charlottesville City Schools, in partnership with City Schoolyard Garden, are purchasing organic local chicken.
About 4P Foods
4P Foods was formed in 2014 as a Benefit Corporation, 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 around the DC metro area. 4P Foods has been a long-time customer and partner of Local Food Hub.
About Local Food Hub
Local Food Hub was founded in 2009 as a non-profit organization to provide critical support to small family farms and increase community access to local food. It will continue to provide these services, which include training and technical assistance to farmers, including food safety certification guidance and support, networking opportunities for growers and producers, and the continuation and expansion of its food access work to get more local food into schools, hospitals and health clinics, and more places where people access food.