What’s Next for West Virginia Food Hubs?

October 22, 2015   Tags:

With the Fall 2015 National Good Food Network Food Hub Training under their belts, what’s new for some of West Virginia’s food hubs, and what are their goals for the next year?

Panorama At The Peak–A Local Foods Restaurant

Website. While not technically a food hub, Panorama sources from a large amount of farmers in the Eastern Panhandle Foodshed.

What’s new after these trainings?

How to better talk about the restaurant to new employees as well as the public, as well as implementing a tracking sheet that would begin to prepare the restaurant for a HACCP plan.

What’s your goal for the next year? 

Provide support to continue the broad conversations we have going on in the region.

Bonds Creek Farm Market

Website. Bonds Creek Farm Market started in 2010. Vicki and Cheri decided to combine their different talents and interests into a local business that would supply the community with items they were demanding. Vicki, an experienced woodcrafter and artist, provides many of the hand-crafted items available at the shop. Cheri, with her experience in agriculture provides fresh, affordable produce, that is Certified Naturally Grown and accessible through the year-round farm market, local farmers markets, and the mobile food unit

What’s new after these trainings?

Researching and implementing insurance requirements, and a possible QuickBooks training.

What’s your goal for the next year? 

To use the mobile trailer to its full capacity.

The Wild Ramp

Website. The Wild Ramp’s mission is to operate a year-round community-supported market that provides a viable economic outlet for local food producers while providing consumers access to locally grown agricultural products.

What’s new after these trainings?

We are finally ready to launch a real food hub! We are working with Coalfield Development and RCBI AG Innovations to develop learning farm incubators around Southern WV whose products will be aggregated and distributed from the West Edge facility in West Huntington.

What’s your goal for the next year? 

Grow capacity with new staff, new facilities and new learning farm incubators. Young people will receive intensive on the job training and a degree from MCTC in the process of learning how to make a living at farming.

Minutemen Farmer’s Cooperative

Website. Minutemen Farmer’s Cooperative is a cooperative of veterans and patriots who have a desire to rebuild American Farming while also helping Veterans.

What’s new after these trainings?

They reinforced our knowledge of the level of operation needed to be viable. 

What’s your goal for the next year? 

Training/farmer recruitment.

Huntington 30 Mile Meal/Unlimited Future

Website. 30 Mile Meal Huntington is a community food brand focused on local foods. 30MMH connects local food producers, processors, wholesalers, buyers, and consumers. By providing a “super-local” effort to assist residents and visitors in finding local foods, we will be contributing to economic development in Huntington.

What’s new after these trainings?

We will focus on facilitating relationships between buyers and sellers, further defining the role of the intermediary, and building capacity with growers.

What’s your goal for the next year? 

Heart and Hand House

Website. The Community Garden Market operated by Heart and Hand House, Inc., provides an opportunity for local gardeners and bakers to earn money by selling their fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, baked goods, honey and other specialty items. The market promotes the health and well-being of the community, not only from a nutritional standpoint, but economically, as well as socially.

What’s new after these trainings?

We are creating new policies and procedures and increasing aggregated sales activity.

What’s your goal for the next year? 

  1. To establish a reliable source of product for the coming year and work with producers who are committed to supplying product on planning and growing schedules.
  2. To develop policies and procedures for the aggregation facility.

Mid-Ohio Valley Edibles (M.O.V.E.)

Website. Mid-Ohio Valley Edibles (M.O.V.E.) is an aggregator and online marketplace of agricultural products grown or raised in the West Virginia counties of Jackson, Calhoun, Clay, Richie, Roane, Wirt and Wood. M.O.V.E. makes it possible for farmers from these counties to work together to meet the growing demand for local, farm fresh food in the North Central West Virginia section of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

What’s new after these trainings?

We have decided to make better use of our delivery van by finding outgoing delivery partners in line within our existing routes. In essence, we strive to be as sustainable as our agricultural practices.

What’s your goal for the next year? 

To have better cooperation among our growers in terms of what varieties they are growing , how much of it, and when to start growing it!

Over time we hope to educate our membership about extended growing season techniques so that each producer can maximize their profitability.

We also strive to aid our producers in gaining GAP certifications  so that they may be qualified for institutional markets.

KISRA

Website. Paradise Farms is one component of KISRA’s Growing Jobs Project. The Growing Jobs Project is a fresh, new way in which KISRA is making a positive difference in our community. It’s a farm-to-table program that’s creating jobs, encouraging entrepreneurship, and giving people access to fresh, locally grown produce for a healthier lifestyle.

What’s new after these trainings?

More purposefully pursuing finding direct-to-consumer markets to supplement our wholesale sales.

We are trying to find ways to increase grower investment in our system. Attempting to make stronger connections with anchor buyers. Developing protocol for differentiating between GHP/GAP and non-GHP/GAP produce.

What’s your goal for the next year? 

Find enough reliable buyers that we can sell year round.

Potomac Highland Food & Farm Initiative

Website. The mission of PHFFI is to increase access to quality food and farm products. We accomplish this mission through various projects including the Highland Market, our local foods grocery store in Davis, Food & Farm Workshops, the Community Garden in Thomas and Community Farm Day.

What’s new after these trainings?

The tour of the Green Grocer let us explore all the different things that the Alderson Community Food Hub engaged in. I think incorporating as many people from the community is what a food hub means to us; otherwise, it’s just a store. There were some ideas that I came away with, from the NGFN, that may help me with marketing in the future.

What’s your goal for the next year? 

We will be expanding to begin creating ready-to-eat, healthy meals, using local ingredients. These will be for sale at our Market and potentially online in the future.

Value Chain Cluster Initiative

Website. VC2 provides hands-on business development and coaching services to strengthen local food and farm businesses in four regions of West Virginia. If you live in one of 17 eligible counties, and are a new or existing producer, processor, aggregator or distributor of local food, you can apply for various types of technical assistance.

What’s new after these trainings?

VC2 will provide better support to hubs we work with, sharing resources, connecting people to contacts and resources from the trainings that can assist them.

What’s your goal for the next year? 

We are looking forward to food hubs continuing to participate in this peer-learning network. VC2 is interested in supporting efforts of hubs to connect physically to each other and improve capacity.

Additionally, NCIF/VC2 received a Local Food Promotion Program grant that can support further digging into the distribution issues particularly along potential corridors. The grant has resources for peer exchange and potential prototyping of distribution routes. We are interested in seeing how to leverage this resource to support Hub Club goals/work and capacity building of the member hubs.

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