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Food Connects Raises Over $10,000 to Expand Local Food Markets

www.foodconnects.org

Food Connects successfully completed its “Growing Local Food Markets in the Monadnock Region” campaign. This campaign, run through the Local Crowd Monadnock, focused on improving the Food Connects Food Hub’s internal infrastructure to expand market access for their local farmers and food producers.

Thanks to the generosity of over 70 different individuals, Food Connects raised $10,850 by April 18. Additionally, community shoppers at the Monadnock Food Co-op and Hannah Grimes Marketplace supported this campaign through sales promotions and customer round-ups. “We are incredibly humbled and grateful for the generosity of our community,” says Richard Berkfield, Executive Director. “We continue to see an outpouring of support for our local food economy and we want to thank all of our community supporters and partners for their commitment to local food during this time.”

The funds raised through this campaign go towards Food Connects’ food safety program and delivery infrastructure. As Food Connects grows and improves its internal systems it can access larger wholesale markets, allowing the 70+ local food producers they work with to sell their products on a larger scale, supporting individual business growth goals and creating a more resilient local food economy.

“Picadilly Farm works with Food Connects to extend our farm sales to regional buyers throughout Windham and Cheshire Counties,” says Jenny Wooster, co-owner of Picadilly Farm. “Their work is great for connecting farms and local producers with local schools, local institutions, and local stores. We're lucky to have Food Connects as part of the food security network here.” 

Connecting farmers and local food producers to wholesale customers is no small feat. The Food Hub team is working hard to manage the growing demand for local food and saw a record sales week in early April—normally one of the slowest months of the year. The internal infrastructure of Food Connects’ systems is critical to supporting successful market growth. To improve systems, the team implemented an Integrated Pest Management Program and purchased warehouse storage shelving, color-coded transport boxes, allergen and warehouse cleaning supplies, and SKU guns, with more equipment to be purchased with the successful completion of the campaign.

“The funds from this campaign will have a major impact on our day-to-day operations,” says McKenna Hayes, Food Hub Operations Manager. “We will gain operational efficiencies, purchase the required equipment, and formally integrate food safety procedures and record-keeping into our distribution systems.”

The entire Food Connects team would like to thank the community for their support of local food during these trying times. If you would like to learn more about how you can help improve the local food economy or volunteer opportunities, please contact info@foodconnects.org.

Food Connects is an entrepreneurial non-profit that delivers locally produced food as well as educational and consulting services aimed at transforming local food systems. The Food Hub aggregates and delivers from over 70 local farms and food producers to over 140 buyers in southeast Vermont, southwest New Hampshire, and western Massachusetts. Their educational services focus on Farm to School programming. Acknowledged as a statewide leader, the program supports over 30 schools to increase local food purchasing, school meal participation, and food, farm, and nutrition education. Together these core programs contribute to a vibrant local economy by increasing local food purchases by schools and improving students’ nutrition and academic performance. Additionally, Food Connects is frequently hired to provide leadership and consulting services for efforts aimed at transforming local food systems in the New England region.