Local Food Hub www.localfoodhub.org

Local Food Hub will host a community-wide celebration of the 2018 Community Food Awards on Thursday, October 25. The Community Food Awards is an annual event recognizing farmers, businesses, and community partners for their commitment to local food, healthy communities, and Virginia agriculture.

According to Kristen Suokko, Executive Director of Local Food Hub, “The Community Food Awards is Local Food Hub’s favorite event of the year. It’s our opportunity to celebrate the many connections and hard work that go into making sure that everyone in the community has access to high-quality, nutritious food grown close to home. This year is especially poignant, as we honor those we have lost. All are welcome!”

The ceremony will take place at Local Food Hub’s warehouse at 556 Dettor Road, Charlottesville, VA. The event will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 25, with awards beginning at approximately 6:30. The ceremony will be followed by a community meal featuring items grown by Local Food Hub partner farms and created by J.M. Stock Provisions, with appetizers from Feast! and an assortment of local beverages. The evening will include a bonfire with s’mores and live music by BTDubs.

This event is free, family-friendly, and open to all. RSVP is requested; please visit localfoodhub.org/rsvp. A $10 donation is suggested, payable with the RSVP or at the door.

Eight awards will be presented:

Partner Producer of the Year, honors Local Food Hub partner producers and farming families who excel at consistently and reliably delivering local products packed in accordance with the highest standards.

Awarded to Holland’s Three Rivers Farm of Rockbridge County, for producing outstanding-quality asparagus, one of the earliest crops of the growing season, and for consistently being a reliable partner.

Pioneer in the Field, recognizes a Virginia farmer who has demonstrated innovation in food system development through their work with Local Food Hub.

Awarded to Shenandoah Valley Organic of Harrisonburg, for their farmer-focused business model and work to help conventional chicken farmers transition to organic practices.

Rookie of the Year, presented in the name of Kathryn Barker, honors a new partner producer who has demonstrated a commitment to partnership with Local Food Hub and increasing access to local food.

Awarded to Superfood Farm of Culpeper, for quickly becoming one of our strongest partners and for offering a bountiful variety of superb-quality wholesale produce. They also had seconds-quality produce, food that might otherwise be wasted, that Local Food Hub was able to sell to schools and value-added processors to extend the season of local.

Retail Leader, recognizes a retailer who has demonstrated a commitment to the purchase and marketing of local food and to a partnership with Local Food Hub in this effort.

Awarded to The Pie Chest of Charlottesville, for their commitment to sourcing local for their unique pie offerings, and for successful community expansion this year.

Institutional Leader, honors an institution that has made a commitment to local agriculture through their menu planning and food service offerings.

Awarded to Sysco Virginia of Harrisonburg, for their ongoing commitment to purchasing from Local Food Hub, and the large, consistent demand for local food Sysco and their customers have created.

Local Business, Community Impact, honors a local business that effectively and creatively increases access to local food.

Awarded to Back Pocket Provisions of Richmond, for creating a unique value-added product that utilizes a top Virginia crop: tomatoes. Back Pocket also utilizes seconds-quality tomatoes, thereby extending the seasonal opportunity to enjoy Virginia-grown tomatoes and creating market opportunities for otherwise wasted food.

Healthy Community Leader, presented in honor of the late Lisa Reeder, recognizes a community organization that demonstrates a commitment to partnering with Local Food Hub on increasing education about and access to local food.

Awarded to Thomas Jefferson Health District for their work to bring food access and equity to the forefront of policy and advocacy work in the region, and their continued support for and leadership in the Fresh Farmacy Program and program expansion goals

Trailblazer, honors individuals or organizations who have developed innovative and creative solutions to procuring locally and have made a commitment to increasing community access to fresh, farm sourced food.

Awarded to Chef Brian Gooch and Virginia Military Institute Dining of Lexington, for their unwavering commitment to serving fresh, high-quality meals to students, and to aiding in the expansion of Local Food Hub’s distribution footprint in Lexington.

The evening will include a commemoration of Lisa Reeder, a longtime employee and creator of many of Local Food Hub’s programs, who passed away unexpectedly on October 14. Lisa leaves a legacy of community involvement, advocacy, and food access work that is an inspiration to all who met her. To learn more about her life and legacy, visit localfoodhub.org.

A special thanks to our community sponsors, including Martin Horn, Red Light Management, St. Anne’s-Belfield School, Merkle, and Feast!.

Local Food Hub is a nonprofit organization that partners with Virginia farmers to increase community access to local food. We provide the support services, infrastructure, and market opportunities that connect people with food grown close to home. To learn more about Local Food Hub, please visit www.localfoodhub.org or contact (434) 244-3276. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @localfoodhub.