Real Local RVA is a grassroots membership group of independent, small grocery stores, restaurants, breweries, small farmers, farmer’s markets, value added producers and supporters dedicated to growing the local food scene in Richmond and the surrounding area. The purpose of the group is to support the businesses who are growing, creating and selling local food and drink, and help to build a more collaborative local food system.
To educate, support and raise awareness of the local food movement and choices in the Greater Richmond area.
The history behind Real Local RVA is rooted in Richmond, VA and an effort to grow the local food movement. The group was started as an informal round table in the beginning of 2014, better known then as the Local Food Group. The vision was to create a network of informed, passionate, creative community members working to increase awareness and knowledge of locally grown food. The group was officially established in 2015 by Rick Hood of Ellwood Thompson’s, Donnie Caffery of Good Foods Grocery, Sam Dortch of Libbie Market, Michelle Williams of the Richmond Restaurant Group and Joe Sparatta and Lee Gregory of Southbound.
Over the course of Real Local’s evolution, the group has held strong to its core value of collaboration over competition. The unique collaboration between many local businesses who are often in competition is Real Local’s strength, and we believe it is this collaboration that will help us build a better local food system in RVA.
The group’s main focuses
- Advocating for small farms and independent businesses to help build a larger economic impact
- Creating partnerships and facilitating connections in the food system
- Events centered around highlighting the best of what the Richmond food system has to offer
- Education surrounding the importance of sustainable farming
- Creating a recognizable brand community members can trust
- Marketing and storytelling
- Monthly networking meetings with relevant speakers to the local food movement
- Annual Farm Tour and Cookout
- Events highlighting prominent figures in the local food movement
- Community events held to inspire local food purchases
- Educational opportunities to grow business
*If you are interested in becoming a member, please reach out to us. During non-pandemic times our meetings are open to the public, however due to COVID-19 our meetings sizes have been reduced. We would be happy to have you join us at a meeting to meet some of our members – please email [email protected] for more info.
“Imagine if we had a food system that actually produced wholesome food. Imagine if it produced that food in a way that restored the land. Imagine if we could eat every meal knowing these few simple things: What it is we’re eating. Where it came from. How it found its way to our table. And what it really cost. If that was the reality, then every meal would have the potential to be a perfect meal. We would not need to go hunting for our connection to our food and the web of life that produces it. We would no longer need any reminding that we eat by the grace of nature, not industry, and that what we’re eating is never anything more or less than the body of the world. I don’t want to have to forage every meal. Most people don’t want to learn to garden or hunt. But we can change the way we make and get our food so that it becomes food again—something that feeds our bodies and our souls. Imagine it: Every meal would connect us to the joy of living and the wonder of nature. Every meal would be like saying grace.”― Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals