The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

February 26, 2014

Local food producers highlighted


— The West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition will host an exhibition of local food producers in the Beckley/southern West Virginia area March 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Dream Center.

Event organizers are currently seeking buyers and growers from surrounding counties to participate in this event.

The Local Foods Expo will provide regional food growers, producers and processors with an opportunity to connect with buyers from restaurants, grocery stores, schools, institutions and other food venues. Not intended for individual consumers, the event is intended to help foster long-term sales relationships between these buyers and farmers.

It is the second in a series of regional expos to be hosted throughout the state by the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition and local partners, with support provided by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture via a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant.

The previous Expo took place in October 2013 in Huntington and featured over 50 buyers and food producers and 15 service providers.

More information about the first Expo, including a Huntington-Area Buyer-Grower Directory, is available at http://wvhub.org/wvffc/news/local-food-expo-gets-thumbs-huntington-buyer-grower-directory-released

Registration is required and costs $10 for all attendees.

Attendees will enjoy a tasting showcase of foods prepared with locally grown produce, a group “speed dating” session helping farmers and buyers get to know each other, and panel discussions on building relationships between farms and food purveyors.

An area of exhibition space will be reserved for organizations and agencies providing products and services that assist producers. Those interested in a booth can indicate this need when registering.

WVFFC will also create a Buyer Grower Directory as a result of this event, which will include detailed information about the needs of each buyer and the products available from each grower, with an emphasis on growers and buyers interested in volume sales.

This directory is designed to increase the overall sale of locally produced goods in West Virginia. It will be distributed to attendees at the Expo and made available to the public.

As a result of directories developed at each Expo, a statewide directory will be released. Attendees providing information via registration will be automatically included in the directory.

Buyers or growers who wish to be included, but are not able to attend the Expo, can still sign up for the directory until March 7.

To register for the Expo and/or the directory, visit http://www.wvhub.org/ wvffc/register-now.

If you have questions about the event, call 304-877-7920 to speak with the event coordinator Garnet Bruell or e-mail foodandfarm@wvhub.org.