Note: This article was originally published March 18 2014.
On March 13, over 50 buyers and food producers and 10 service providers gathered for the Beckley Local Food Expo, bringing together regional food buyers and producers to share knowledge and explore the potential for business opportunities. Many attendees set up booths featuring their products and engaged with potential buyers. Following a lunch made from West Virginia products, a panel discussion was held that focused on buying and selling within the state, from producer and buyer perspectives. After a networking break, attendees participated in buyer-grower “speed-dating,” where buyers rotated through tables of producers to make face-to-face contacts and introductions.
A Beckley region Buyer Grower Directory was created to accompany the Beckley Local Food Expo. The Directory is intended to be used by volume food buyers (such as restaurants, grocers, co-ops and institutional food service) and local food producers to help them form sales connections with one another. It includes detailed information about the businesses who either attended the Expo or submitted their information specifically for inclusion in the Directory. If you attended the expo but are not in the directory, or if you are in the Beckley region and would like to be included, you can fill out the information here.
The Beckley Local Food Expo is the second in a series of regional Expos to be hosted throughout the state by the WV Food & Farm Coalition and local partners, with support provided by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture via a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant. After the first three Expos, the directory information from all three events will be combined into a single statewide buyer-grower directory. Look for the full directory on our web site by Fall 2014.
We are grateful to the partners without whom the Expo and the Buyer-Grower Directory would not have been possible: