Local Food Hub is a nonprofit organization that partners with Virginia farmers to increase access to local food. It provides the support services, infrastructure, and market opportunities that connect people with food grown close to home. Its vision is that the knowledge and choice of local food becomes the norm, not the exception, for all segments of the community, and that small farms have a strong economic foothold in the marketplace.
With Farm Aid’s support, Local Food Hub provides Virginia farms with the tools they need to navigate the wholesale marketplace and regulatory landscape, at no cost to the grower.
One example is Singing Earth Produce where father and son team, Adolfo and José Calixto, have been farming in Augusta County, Virginia, for more 12 years. Adolfo emigrated from Mexico where his family lived a life close to the land, and something was always growing for their family meals. The Calixtos purchased land in Virginia to try their hand at growing for the wholesale market, which has been quite successful. In just one delivery, they brought 3,435 pounds of watermelon and 1,730 pounds of tomatoes to the Local Food Hub warehouse, all harvested by hand. In 2011, they won Local Food Hub’s Partner Producer of the Year Award for their commitment to growing and harvesting the best local produce, which continues to be the case five years later.
With the help of our Grower Services Program, Singing Earth achieved Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Certification in summer 2016. GAP is a government and industry recognized standard in food safety, and among the highest regarded credentials available. This certification will open more markets for the Calixtos’ products, as more buyers require GAP. They’re also reaching more of Local Food Hub’s food access programs through production planning and their shared commitment to increasing access to local food for everyone. Since partnering with us, Singing Earth has increased their production by 30 percent. Local Food Hub continues to work closely with all of its 60+ partner farms to create a safe and resilient local food system, with small family farms at its core.