July 2018 Newsletter

Jul 2, 2018 by


A few fresh faces here at LEAP, and thanks to a familiar one
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Annual Report

We’re pleased to release our 2017 Annual Report! This broad overview of our work over the course of last year illustrates how LEAP’s various programs continued to meet community needs and build up our local food system. A message from our Director, a look at the state of our finances, and a deeper dive into each of our program areas – Farm ShareMarkets (both fixed-site and Mobile), the LEAP KitchenHealthy Food Incentives, and Regional Food Planning – will give you an idea what we’ve been busy with in the past year, who we serve and how, and just how effective we’ve been in meeting our goals.

Welcome Stephanie Simms Hodges to the LEAP family!

We’re so very happy to have Stephanie join our team as our new Program Grant Manager! Stephanie is a Registered Dietitian with a background in child nutrition, public health, and food policy. Prior to joining LEAP, Stephanie oversaw child nutrition grants, supported childhood obesity prevention efforts, assisted with implementation of the USDA nutrition regulations Smart Snacks in Schools, and advocated for quality nutrition services in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Stephanie earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition, Foods & Exercise from Virginia Tech. She earned a Master of Science in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition and a Master’s in Public Health from Tufts University. We couldn’t be more excited to have Stephanie on board, and know she’s going to be invaluable as she works to make good, healthy, locally-produced food accessible to everyone in our community. If you see her around, please make her feel welcome!

Two welcome additions to the LEAP Board!

Our board is expanding! We’re thrilled to announce the addition of two passionate, talented, and imminently-qualified women to our Board of Directors: Laura P. Reilly and Christina Nifong!

Laura Reilly (pictured above left) has been the director of the Salem Farmers Marketfor 8 years, accepting & matching SNAP since her very first season. As part of the Blue Ridge Farmers Market Managers Coalition, Laura supported and embraced the resource of local market managers and helped bring market manager together to share resources and strengthen the markets throughout the region. As a municipal-owned market the Salem Farmers Market has become a leader in helping other markets navigate the accounting process and sharing financial reporting techniques that are acceptable to government financial officers. The Salem Farmers Market has received numerous community-based grants to fund their SNAP matching program, as well as developed strong partnerships with local charitable food organizations. As part of the FINI-grant collaboration, working closely with LEAP as well as neighboring farmers markets, the Salem Farmers Market has been able to steadily expand their program in 2018 to offer additional shopping incentives to SNAP participants. A native of Gate City, Virginia and a proud Virginia Tech Hokie, she is an avid ACC basketball fan.

Christina Nifong’s (pictured above right) love of local food was sparked more than a decade ago when she began trying to feed her family in the most nutritious way possible. Her research convinced her that eating locally — from farmers she knew, as well as from food she grew herself — was the best way to nourish her children, her community and the environment. These days, Christina shares all she’s discovered in her monthly e-newsletter: Eat Healthy/Eat Local, on her website: christinanifong.com, in the community classes she teaches, and in her writing for magazines such as The Roanoke Times-published SWVA Living, The Roanoker and The Local Palate. Fun fact: Christina, her husband, and her three kids sold lettuce and herbs at the Grandin Village Farmers Market during the market’s very first summer.

Please welcome Christina and Laura to the LEAP family when you see them around!

Our heartfelt thanks to Jim Crawford for his years of service

Jim Crawford, one of the founding LEAP Board members, is stepping down from our Board of Directors. Since 2009, Jim has been dedicated to achieving the mission of LEAP both with hard work and cheerfulness, encouraging all involved. We can’t truly convey in words the depth of our gratitude for Jim’s years of service, his unfailingly positive attitude, and his community-focused voice. While he may be stepping down from the board, not to fear – Jim will continue to be an involved part of our LEAP family, and you still can catch him playing tunes at the West End Farmers Market the first Tuesday of each month, all summer long. Please consider dropping by the West End tomorrow to thank him for his many years of hard work on behalf of our local food system!
From fellow LEAP Board Members: “Thank you for your service, Jim. We shall miss you greatly. Surely your influence will continue as LEAP strives to serve a growing public with local, sustainably-grown food. Thank you for your contributions towards making Roanoke and beyond a better place.”
“Jim is one of the founding board members of LEAP and literally took a leap of faith with us. He’s always been a positive and supportive presence and we’re thankful for his service to the organization. We’ll miss his presence on the board but are so glad we’ll still get to see him in the neighborhood.”

Mobile Market special events, and Fresh Foods Rx!

In addition to our 10 regular weekly stops, the LEAP Mobile Market will be out on the road for a couple special pop-up Mobile Market stops this month. We’ll be at Greenvale School (627 Westwood Blvd, NW Roanoke) on Friday, July 14th, from 3:00 to 6:00 PM. The Mobile Market visit will dovetail with nutrition lessons during the day’s classes, and we’ll teach kids and their parents to feel comfortable shopping at the farmers market. And on Saturday, July 28, from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at theFriendship Manor Campus (397 Hershberger Rd. NW Roanoke), we’ll be at a health seminar, Empower Your Self Healing Body: God’s Way to Ultimate Health, convened by Health Ministers Dr. Ronald L. Marsh and Minister Thelma Marsh. Registration is $10 per person and includes refreshments. Call 540-759-0366 or 540-529-6571 for more information.

The Mobile Market is also proud to be part of Healthy Roanoke Valley‘s Fresh Foods Rx (FFRx) program again this year. Each week for the next 12 weeks, participants who suffer from or at risk of diet-related diseases will receive education related to health, diet, and nutrition. They’ll then receive a $20 “prescription” to spend on fruits and vegetables at the on-site Mobile Market. FFRx will be concurrent with our regularly-scheduled stops at Carilion Clinic Southeast (2145 Mt. Pleasant Blvd. SE Roanoke) every Tuesday from 5:30 – 6:30; and at New Horizons Healthcare (3716 Melrose Ave NW) every Wednesday from 4:30 – 5:30. We’ll also be holding a special FFRx stop at Carilion Clinic Family Medicine Roanoke-Salem (1314 Peters Creek Rd NW Roanoke) every Thursday from 5:30 – 6:00 for the next 12 weeks.

Want to see the LEAP Mobile Market at YOUR event? We have some limited availability to bring our beautiful farmers market-on-wheels to special community events around Roanoke and beyond. Contact Ned Savage at 540-632-2017 or Ned@LEAPforLocalFood.org for more information.

Summertime Abundance at Grandin!
The good stuff is rolling in! Cukes, berries, ‘maters, ‘taters, squash, peppers, melons… the list goes on and on! Come revel in our local bounty! And please consider bringing a friend to market – this is the best time of year to share with the ones you love why local food is the freshest, tastiest, healthiest (not to mention best for our local economy and planet) food you can buy!
 Follow GVFM on Facebook!
Fresh Food in the West End
Every Tuesday, get your fill of the freshest food anywhere! Lots of fantastic new vendors have all your needs covered: prolific produce, eggs, meat, baked goods, prepared foods, even homemade salsa for your perfect Taco Tuesday! Come by tomorrow and thank the multi-talented Jim Crawford for his service in between guitar tunes.
 Follow WEFM on Facebook!
Become a LEAP Community Partner! Support LEAP and snag some great deals at the Community Markets. LEAP Partnerships are open to businesses- let LEAP help promote the great work you do in the community!

Buy a LEAP Market Gift Certificate for a longtime market-goer or to introduce a friend to the market.

Want to volunteer with LEAP?  LEAP runs on community support. Let us know if you have a special skill you’d love to share!

Have a question? Email Maureen at maureen@LEAPforlocalfood.org.

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