It’s easy to forget just how many people it takes to keep our local food system churning. We all know (I hope!) that it takes farmers — and certainly they bear the bulk of the load — but it takes many, many more. From business owners to county supervisors, cafeteria managers and city council members to philanthropic citizens, moms and dads, chefs, food bank directors, and community leaders, getting local food from farm to table requires a lot of helping hands.
Last week’s Community Food Awards celebration was our way to say thank you to all of these hard working local food heroes, and recognize a select few for their efforts above and beyond the norm.
Sponsored by our partners EDENS, Ballyshannon Fund, Bundoran Farm, Early Mountain Vineyards, Albemarle County, and the City of Charlottesville, the celebration also marked the completion of Local Food Hub’s third year of operation! Since 2009, we have purchased more than $1.2 million worth of local fruits, vegetables, meat, and eggs from 75 family farms and sent that food to public schools, hospitals, senior centers, and local retailers. If we’ve learned anything over the last few years, it’s that it truly takes a village to make that happen effectively.
This message was clear in Board Chair Kristen Suokko’s opening remarks, and echoed in keynote speaker, Paul Freedman’s address. Freedman, UVA political scientist and founding member of the UVA Food Collaborative, took the opportunity to remind us that not only is Central Virginia a great place to be a local food “eater,” but it’s also a great place to be a local food “citizen” — to actively participate in and impact the local food system. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!
So, without further ado, we send our heartfelt congratulations and thanks to the following 2012 Community Food Award winners:
Agricultural Endurance Award: Tim & Sarah Henley, Henley’s Orchard
Honors a Virginia farming family who has made a long-term commitment to agriculture, has invested in the community through job creation and farmland preservation, and continues to inspire and encourage others to participate in Virginia’s agricultural heritage.
Pioneer in the Field Award: Susan & Scott Hill, Hill Farm Vintage Vegetables
Recognizing a Virginia farming family who has demonstrated a commitment to partnership, innovation, and food system development through their work with Local Food Hub.
Partner Producer of the Year: Nathan Yoder & Family, Shady Lane Family Farm
Honors a Local Food Hub partner producer who consistently and reliably delivers top quality local produce packed with the highest standards and exemplifies the values for a successful partnership.
Institutional Leader Award: Tom Cervelloni, Director of Food & Beverage, the Abbott Center at Darden School of Business
Honors an institution that has made a firm commitment to local agriculture through their menu planning and food service offerings, thereby greatly increasing the overall demand for local food, enhancing community access, and supporting local economic and agricultural development.
Small Business, Big Impact Award: Bill Calvani, Grocery Manager, Rebecca’s Natural Food
Honors a small business that effectively and creatively incorporates locally grown food into their inventory or product offerings and, in the process, supports local agriculture, increases individual access, and targets local economic development.
Trailblazer Award: Trey Holt, Executive Chef, St. Anne’s-Belfield School
Honors individuals and/or institutions who are working to develop innovative and creative solutions to incorporate locally grown food into their food procurement policies and have made a commitment to increasing community access to fresh, healthy local food.
Innovation in Agriculture Award: Michael Clark, Owner, Planet Earth Diversified
Recognizing a small-scale family farmer for demonstrated creativity and innovation, sponsored by Bundoran Farm.
The event concluded with a delicious lunch spread, which is, of course, the best way to celebrate local food and farms. This lunch was extra-special because it was prepared and donated by some of our best local food buyers: Albemarle Baking Company, The Rock Barn, A Pimento, Great Harvest Bread Company, and Revolutionary Soup. Thanks to all of these local businesses for their support!