Grower Services

Local Food Hub partners with more than 70 small family farmers and producers throughout Virginia to increase community access to local food. While Local Food Hub and 4P Foods believe 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.

Food Safety

Food safety is a growing national concern. Both the marketplace and the regulatory system are requiring increasingly stringent certifications that are challenging for small family farms to achieve.  

Local Food Hub is addressing this challenge by helping farms through the process of certification. Under the Grower Services program, by 2020 all of Local Food Hub’s partner farms will also receive the assistance they need to reach compliance with new food safety laws. In addition, many of them will receive cost-share assistance for the certifications themselves.

Market Readiness

Heightened buyer awareness of food safety concerns has increased market requirements for greater assurance of the safety of produce. Farmers must be cognizant of these requirements to sell to the larger market. Local Food Hub is utilizing its strong relationships with food purchasers across the state to understand market demands and train farmers accordingly.

Collective Purchasing

Family farms are often challenged in filling wholesale orders because of the up-front investments required to acquire and store necessary items such as boxes, seeds, and soil amendments. Local Food Hub has helped address this through its box program, in which it purchases boxes in wholesale quantities and sells them in small increments to farms at cost. Local Food Hub will expand this program to include other critical items that will help give farmers a leg up in meeting the demands of the wholesale marketplace.

Networking and Peer-to-Peer Training

The best resource for a family farm is other farmers. Local Food Hub is developing a peer-to-peer training program that will draw on the expertise of some of its most experienced partner farms and involve a series of on-farm workshops specific to today’s farming challenges. Local Food Hub also hosts a regular partner producer meeting, a Grower Advisory Committee, and the annual Community Food Awards.

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!

Our Sponsors