FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mount Hope, WV – The West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition has announced that up to $3,500 in funding is available for organizations or individuals that aggregate local food. As single points of sale for multiple local products, “Food Hubs,” are an important part of a strong local food economy because they allow large purchasers such as restaurants or institutions to get all their local food through one entity. The grants are available state-wide and the complete RFP can be found here.
To help interested parties through the application process, The West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition will host a day long meeting in Philippi, WV on April 22nd. A form to RSVP for this event can be found here and should be completed by April 14. “People have some great ideas about West Virginia Food Hubs, and we think that they can get even better by talking with people in other parts of the state who have similar projects,” says Elizabeth Spellman, Executive Director of The West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition.
The application is due on May 8th, and grants will be awarded by May 31. Examples of how funding can be used include business coaching, addition of staff, equipment, marketing, implementing business or logistics plans, or other tactics to become more financially sustainable.
But funds aren’t the only benefit of this project, there’s also strong support from both agricultural and business service providers. By the end of the year, grantees will have received business and production planning and will have authored a business plan. “We think the support offered in terms of ideas and planning is just as valuable as the funding,” says Spellman, “We’ll be connecting fledgling West Virginia Food Hubs with the resources available within our network.”
This grant opportunity comes shortly after a series of Food Hub workshops at the 2015 Small Farm Conference, which highlighted the great potential for growth in the sector and brought together partners from within West Virginia and beyond, including The Ohio Cooperative Development Center, Panorama At The Peak Farm to Table Restaurant, Downstream Strategies, The Robert C Byrd Institute for Agricultural Innovation, The Wild Ramp, The West Virginia Office of Child Nutrition, and The West Virginia Department of Agriculture. A report from the conference that contains presentation materials is available to the public.
More information about the grant, including the full application, is available here. Questions can be directed to Megan Smith at email@example.com, by calling the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition office at 304-877-7920, or visiting them on the web at www.wvfoodandfarm.org.