McAuliffe announces $245,600 Local Innovation Grant for South Hill
Governor Terry McAuliffe announced $245,600 in Community Development Block Grant Local Innovation funding to the Town of South Hill for the Southern Virginia Food Hub. This project will provide training and technical assistance to 42 farmer and food producer microenterprise businesses, of which 51 percent will be low- to moderate-income residents.
“The Southern Virginia Food Hub is an exciting, innovative project that will help create successful, profitable agribusinesses and preserve the heritage of family farms in seven southern Virginia counties,” said Governor McAuliffe. “The Food Hub’s physical location in the Town of South Hill will also benefit their commercial center and residents through access to local food. With this grant, farmers and food producers in the region will have better opportunities to sell their goods and benefit from our growing new Virginia economy.”
“Food access issues impact a wide range of communities across our Commonwealth and require an ‘all of the above’ set of solutions,” said First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe, Chair of the Commonwealth Council on Bridging the Nutritional Divide. “The Southern Virginia Food Hub is well poised to lead the region and demonstrate how investments in the local food economy can drive community revitalization, expand economic opportunity, and improve food security for all.”
The Southern Virginia Food Hub will serve farmer and producer businesses in the counties of Brunswick, Charlotte, Dinwiddie, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, and Nottoway. The brick-and-mortar location in the Town of South Hill will house a local food grocery store, a commercial kitchen, dairy processing room, a local food deli, and a community classroom.
The majority of the farmers served by the Food Hub will be small scale, family operations with limited access to sales outlets. The majority of Southern Virginia is designated as a “food desert,” meaning residents have limited access to food options, which this initiative seeks to change.
“Through the CDBG program, we are utilizing and leveraging federal resources to continue addressing community issues throughout the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “I commend the Town of South Hill and the seven-county region for building upon the strong agricultural economy of southern Virginia by investing in the small farms and agriculture-related businesses that are vital to regional economic development efforts. This project builds on this economic foundation by better connecting local residents to their local agricultural producers.”