We are truly grateful for the support of market customers and producers, event sponsors and partners, program attendees, and volunteers. All of you have contributed to the mission of our grassroots organization. You are appreciated.
2018 has been a busy and rewarding year. Our board has welcomed our current treasurer and two new members. Our staff and volunteer network have worked together to successfully grow our customer and producer base for our online market.
Our Homestead series hosted six workshops focusing on sustainable practices from gardening to goat raising. We hosted two fundraising events featuring local food and beverages that sold out. We were also able to continue supporting school programs that connect students to growing and enjoying local produce.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, please accept our wholehearted thanks for being a part of our mission. Below are some highlights of these activities.
This year our online farmers market served 39 local producers and facilitated over $300,000 in sales. When we say local we mean it: 29.6 miles is the average distance travelled from the farms to our meet up site. (Most grocery store food travels 1,200 miles!) Some other notable facts about the producers:
1,581 acres are preserved in farmland
148 people are employed by these businesses
16 businesses (41%) are woman-owned
10 are young or beginning farmers
357 years of farming experience is represented
Our homestead series reached over 111 individuals. We hosted programs on fruit orchard design, soil fertility, woodlot management, raising goats, wreath-making, and season extension. We partnered with the Virginia Department of Forestry, local farmers, and local non-profits including Shalom Farms to offer participants excellent, expert information to take home and apply to their needs.
We hosted a sold out, summer tasting featuring local food from our online market with support from local chefs and Kindred Spirits Brewery. This event was generously supported by volunteer chefs Tammy Brawley, Michael Lampros, Dave Booth, and Cody Wells.
We also represented local farm food and rural culture at food, education and health-related events at Rassawek, Huguenot Springs, Collegiate School, The Homestead, the Virginia Farm Bureau and other locations throughout the area.
We are looking forward to 2019 and invite you to join us! Perhaps you have a skill to teach through our homestead series or are available to help sort food on Thursdays for our market. Wewelcome your participation and, as always, appreciate your tax deductible donations.
With much appreciation,
President, Center for Rural Culture
PS - Stay tuned for information on our participation in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Richmond.