In early December of 2020, Floyd County Board of Supervisors approved a plan to utilize CARES Act funds for a local initiative. Linda DeVito Kuchenbuch thought to supply the county’s 8 food banks with food for the over 700 families served. As an agricultural community, Lauren Yoder proposed the next logical step – to source these food products locally.
$200,000 were allotted for the proposal, and after approval, the intense ground work began as funds had to be spent by the end of 2020. Lydeana Martin, the Floyd County Community and Economic Development Director, was tasked with implementing this colossal endeavor. The county sourced 1000s of pounds of beef and pork from local farmers and provided freezer and refrigeration space for the pantries as needed.
In addition to meat, the county sought to provide pantries with locally farmed products such as eggs, grains, fresh produce and baked goods. Lydeana Martin turned to SustainFloyd for assistance in locating, procuring, and delivering adequate quantities of product on individual pantry schedules to meet their hours of operation. SustainFloyd in turn went to the Farmers Market vendors to source the produce needed for the effort.
In the two weeks prior to Christmas, market farmers, baker, and miller delivered over 5000 pounds of locally raised produce, 550 dozen eggs, 2700 pounds of locally milled bread mixes, 1000s of bread products. Many of these vendors are one person shops who worked non-stop and around the clock to provide the quantities needed by Christmas.
Riverstone Organic Farm who was able to harvest and distribute over 5000 pounds of produce to our local pantries. Wild Mountain Farm and Waterbear Farm provided additional produce ensuring that all families served would have an equal portion. Floyd grown produce included cabbage, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, radishes, onions, salad mix, spinach, beets, parsnips, and acorn squash.
All 550 dozen eggs were sourced from R&G Farm. Floyd’s only local miller, Tom Maxey of Gracious Day Grains provided 2700 pounds of freshly milled cornbread mix and buckwheat pancake mix. The thousands of bread loaves, bagels, scones and cookies were provided by Barbara Gillespie of Grateful Bread, a one woman bakery in the center of Floyd.
Kathy Dulaney of Highland Farm provided their balance of available pork (56 pounds) and Fabian Lujan of Piemonte Provisions mixed 100 containers of his famous pimento cheese.
Overall, the last-minute project was a huge success not only for the food pantries and those families that were able to access locally grown and produced foods, sometimes for the first time, but also for the Floyd Farmers Market vendors who were able to share their product with the entire county.
The Floyd County Board of Supervisors and Lydeana Martin, with assistance from SustainFloyd, local farmers, food producers and most importantly all of our local food pantries, were successful in bringing local product to underserved families just in time for Christmas.