October 2021 Newsletter

Oct 6, 2021 by


Enjoy Delicious Local Food This Winter

From November through January, LEAP offers a Winter Farm Share, filled with items like sweet potatoes, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, apples, pork sausage, shiitake mushrooms, grits, and goat cheese. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are available. You can also add an egg or bread share to your order. Pick-ups are Tuesdays at West End Farmers Market or Roanoke Memorial Hospital. The cost is $405 for 11 weeks. Half-price shares are available with SNAP, P-EBT, WIC & Medicaid. Find more details and register (before Oct. 22!) at www.leapforlocalfood.org/farmshare

October is National Farm to School Month

In Roanoke that means a month of opportunities for kids (and families) to learn about how their food is grown, meet the farmers who grow it, and taste locally grown produce. Join LEAP, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and our many partners to celebrate delicious, nutritious food.

These activities are one outgrowth of a USDA planning grant that LEAP, VCE, Roanoke City Public Schools and Sodexo Magic share. Other farm to school initiatives (such as school gardens and healthy snack activities) are under way at Highland Park Elementary School, Hurt Park Elementary School, and Lucy Addison Middle School. For more healthy food and gardening resources, check out this Farm to School Roanoke website.
Governor Northam Stopped by to Say Thank You

Last month, Gov. Ralph Northam, Del. Sam Rasoul, and Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring visited the LEAP Mobile Market on its regular Friday stop at Morningside Manor to say “thank you” to the farmers who grow our food and to LEAP and Virginia Fresh Match, the organizations that make it possible for SNAP recipients to double the amount of healthy food they can purchase with their benefits. 

While essential to a healthy diet, fresh fruits and vegetables are often out of reach for families who have limited incomes. The statewide Virginia Fresh Match (VFM) network works with retail food outlets including farmers markets, mobile markets, CSAs, farm stands and neighborhood grocery stores to double the value of SNAP-EBT and Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) and help individuals and families take home more fruits and vegetables.

Volunteers Make Our Gardens Great

Junior League of Roanoke Valley members arrived at Hurt Park Community Garden on Oct. 3 ready to roll up their sleeves! There was gravel to move and groundhogs to roust. JLRV awarded a $17,000 grant to LEAP in 2021 with the goal of increasing access to healthy food. The garden is undergoing a redesign that will be facilitated by a James Madison University design team, with collaboration from Hurt Park’s neighbors. For more information about how your organization can help in one of the LEAP-led community gardens, email Community Gardens Manager Davey Stewards at davey@leapforlocalfood.org. For information about other volunteer opportunities, email mo@leapforlocalfood.org.

Vendor Spotlight:
Rivenwood Gardens

By Layla Khoury-Hanold

Between the two of them, farmers Christine Mann and Corey Hamza have experience farming in California, Oregon, and New Zealand, but it took moving to Franklin County to find a farm to call their own. This year, Rivenwood Gardens made their Grandin Village Farmers Market debut, and the couple have made Virginia home.

Initially, the pair looked for land on the West Coast, but it was too expensive (to say nothing of the challenges with irrigation). When they started researching creative lease partnerships, they found an opportunity on a 300-acre farm in Glade Hill. 

In May 2020, during the height of the pandemic, Mann and Hamza moved from California to Glade Hill to start anew. Their 2.5-acre property, which consists of a patchwork of forest, pastures, and gardens bordered on three sides by the Pigg River, inspired their farm’s name.
Read the full feature on our website

2020 was a year of disruptions and lock-downs, of scarcity and despair. But LEAP took on the challenges of the moment and turned them into ways to serve its community. Take a look here at the work LEAP is doing day-in and day-out in Roanoke and throughout Virginia. A few highlights: 3,500 packs of local produce distributed to food pantries across the city in 2020 and $200,000 of fresh food sold at affordable prices in food insecure areas.

Feed Your Brain!

Timely news and further reading about food systems issues

“Prescribing tomatoes and carrots could help some Americans eat better” Politico
(LEAP’s work is highlighted in this article!)

Schools across the country are offering less healthy lunch options amid shortages The New York Times

Sustainable Is the Future of Farming — Here’s Why  Grist

Tourism vs. CAFOs: A New Front in the Fight Against Industrial Animal Ag   Civil Eats

October Seasonal Recipe:
Apple Pie

Courtesy of Christina Nifong from Nourishing Stories

Southwest Virginia is fortunate to grow a wide selection of delicious apples (think Grimes Golden, Stayman, Winesap). Pick your own at a nearby orchard or order a box full at LEAP’s online market. That way you’ll have plenty to stir into applesauce, grate into apple slaw, or slice into this amazing apple pie. 

Show Your Support!

  • 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!
  • Let LEAP help promote the great work your business does in the community by becoming a Sponsor.
  • Have a question, concern, or idea to share? Email us info@LEAPforlocalfood.org.
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