LOCAL FOOD MOVEMENT : Growing in RichmondFeb 27, 2018 08:03PM ● By Jessica Coffey
Real Local RVA is a grassroots group of local businesses working together to educate consumers in the Richmond area about the importance of buying locally produced food. They hold monthly meetings for members and nonmembers on the first Monday of each month at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church that feature networking opportunities and engaging speakers.
Real Local RVA also hosts community events such as an annual farm tour and cookout and a reverse farmers’ market. The group often brings in prominent figures in the sustainable food movement, including Joel Salatin, of Polyface Farms.
The organization is comprised of small, independent grocery stores, farmers, farmers’ markets, restaurants and value-added producers and supporters dedicated to creating a more sustainable local food economy in Richmond and the communities that surround it.
The history behind Real Local RVA is deeply rooted in Richmond, with an effort to grow the local food movement. Its leadership includes Rick Hood, owner of Ellwood Thompson’s; Donnie Caffery, owner of Good Foods Grocery; Sam Dortch, co-owner of Libbie Market; Sally Schwitters, executive director of Tricycle Urban Ag; and Michelle Williams, co-owner of the Richmond Restaurant Group.
The group started as an informal round table in 2014, better known then as the Local Food Group. Over the course of Real Local’s evolution, the group has held strong to its core value of collaboration over competition. The unique collaboration between many local businesses that are often in competition is Real Local’s strength, and it’s that kind of collaboration that will help build a better local food system in RVA.
Real Local RVA works to fulfill its mission of educating, supporting and raising awareness of the local food movement by encouraging collaboration between farms and local food businesses, and providing education to consumers about why buying local food is the path to both a healthy economy and a healthy soul.
Meeting Location: 6000 Grove Ave. For more information, visit RealLocalRVA.com.