We are ‘SO Fresh’!

OUR BEGINNINGS & MISSION

Southwest Virginia Fresh (known as ‘SO Fresh’) became an independent community service organization in late 2012 and a 501c3 charitable nonprofit in 2014, having been launched in 2010 as Pulaski Fresh, a local foods initiative of Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce.  It is operated by a Board of Directors, which serves as primary staff, and volunteers from our Advisory Board, both of which include consumers and producers from throughout southwestern Virginia.

Our mission is ‘to promote a local foods economy throughout Southwest Virginia by enhancing the knowledge of, availability of, and demand for locally produced, locally sold foods throughout the region.

We invite you to check out our opportunities, programs, and dreams in the information & links on this website  and join us in building and enjoying the benefits of a community-centered food heritage in Southwest Virginia, one where you can “put a face” on who sells or who buys your food, giving you choices while supporting your local economy.

OUR SERVICES AND BENEFITS

NETWORKING

The charter members of SO Fresh envisioned a vast and extensive network that helps match potential buyers with grower/producers who sell (or dream of selling) their locally produced vegetables, fruits, meats, dairy, eggs, and baked goods.  This website, various gatherings, one-by-one connections, as well as connecting southwestern VA local foods groups are some of the ways we do this.

EDUCATION & RESOURCES

SO Fresh offers seminars, workshops, and resources for producers and consumers to expand their expertise and ability to make informed choices.  Topics have included gardening techniques, entrepreneurial business basics and customer service, marketing, financing, tourism and legal requirements, preserving and cooking with local foods, and learning activities for children.

PROMOTION

We work to create opportunities for small producer businesses (including those who want to just dabble in sales) as well as farmers markets and restaurants to become known in their communities without the need for a vast marketing budget.

COLLABORATIONS

We are working to bring numerous local foods organizations together on a regular basis to learn from each other and explore potential for regional collaborations and cooperation.  SO Fresh, as a region-wide organization, is well suited by design to host & lead that effort.

Promoting development of community greenhouses, cannery/certified kitchens and education centers is also possible.

We participate in other groups and their initiatives to help them to be successful.

 

OUR DREAM

As this organization grows, SO Fresh will become an  initiator and comprehensive “point of  contact” for all Southwest Virginia local foods efforts and information, thereby enhancing a region of connected and thriving community-based foods businesses and consumers– where it is commonplace for: local foods groups to have ways to collaborate, consumers to seek local foods first and find them, producers to be financially successful, residents and visitors to know about regional events & activities, and localities to focus on local agriculture as economic development.

GUIDING VALUES

  • We are a nonprofit community service organization, comprised of local foods consumers, producers, and organizations, that serves the region by educating, networking, marketing, and collaborating.
  • We value and assist the novice to experienced producer and the small to large buyer.
  • We encourage producers to share how their food is produced and buyers to support what they like.
  • We promote the public’s understanding of the health and economic benefits that come from purchasing foods as locally as possible, thereby creating connected and thriving communities.