Wake-Up Call: Charlottesville’s Local Food Hub: History, Programs and Participants

Portia Boggs (left) and Kristen Suokko

Sunday Morning Wake-up Call host Rick Moore talks with Charlottesville’s Local Food Hub Executive Director, Kristen Suokko and Director of Advancement and Communications, Portia Boggs, about their efforts to get locally grown food to consumers during the COVID pandemic. Topics include: The Fresh Farmacy Program and tips for using the drive-through market.

The Sunday Morning Wake-up Call is heard on Real Oldies 97.9 The WREN, Sundays from 11 a.m. to noon.

Local Food

Kristen Suokko speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

Local Food Hub is a nonprofit organization that partners with Virginia farmers to increase community access to local food. They provide the support services, infrastructure, and market opportunities that connect people with food grown close to home.

Local Food Hub grew out of a community-supported discussion that identified a need for greater linkages between small family farms and institutions seeking local food. Farmers were being locked out of the institutional market due to missing infrastructure, delivery minimums, insurance requirements, and time. Institutions and businesses found it challenging to access a consistent supply of local produce, and were looking for one number to call to source locally.

Since its founding eight years ago, Local Food Hub has made strides in its mission to make fresh, farm sourced food available to everyone. Locally sourced food is now accessible to school kids and seniors, hospitals and universities, and restaurants and retailers. Community partnerships and programs ensure that we not only feed but also educate a new generation about the value of eating fresh and local. Family farms, the environment, public health, and the local economy all benefit as a result.

Kristen Suokko

Kristen Suokko served as chairwoman of the Local Food Hub Board of Directors in 2012, and in 2013 became executive director. Kristen maintains a wealth of experience in environmental philanthropy and nonprofit excellence, as well as environmental planning and sustainability. She began her career in Washington, D.C., working for the Natural Resources Defense Council and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Kristen has lived in Charlottesville for over 15 years and previously held positions with the W. Alton Jones Foundation and the Blue Moon Fund. Kristen received a degree in Russian from Middlebury College and is from New England.

Ms. Suokko spoke at the Wednesday February 8, 2017 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at the Senior Center in Charlottesville. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV board member Madison Cummings.