How We are Giving Back to Our Blue Ridge Community
Our community believes that economic circumstances should not limit a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle. Therefore, we are working with agencies and our local food industry to address food insecurity issues within the community. We are also looking at ways to address staffing issues and improve the quality of our employee base.
Taste of Blue Ridge’s philanthropic projects/activities/initiative
Root to Table Community Grant Program
This grant program offers funding to non-profits addressing food challenges within the community. A special emphasis of the grant program is to educate young people to be involved in their community. This includes youth leadership programs such as the Future Farmers of America, the Eagle Scouts, and The New Ag School in Loudoun County.
March 2024 will see the first grants issued.
Our Root to Table Culinary Series events will end in November, 2024 with our 2nd Great Chefs Table fundraiser. Our host location will be Riverside on the Potomac in Loudoun County. We also have the support of our “Friends of our Food Insecurity and Education” Platform.
FFA is the premier youth organization preparing members for leadership and careers in the science, business, and technology of agriculture. The FFA is an excellent leadership program for young people, similar to the Eagle Scout program with the Scouts of America. We encourage them to become involved with their communities and consider a career in the agricultural and culinary industries.
Our second goal is to improve the quality of our restaurant staff and offer easy incentives for current employees to further their education in the culinary industry. To do this, Taste of Blue Ridge is connecting our chefs and executive managers to the program provided by BRCTC.
The BRCTC program includes a full scholarship for students in the quad-state area and an internship program where their students can have entry-level jobs in our restaurants.
Our chefs also offer time to speak and guide students seeking culinary careers. Students participate in the Root to Table Culinary Series, allowing them to work next to experienced chefs.
C-Capp has identified four food desert areas in Winchester with a severe need for food. With limited transportation and no close grocery stores, food insecurity is a reality for these neighborhoods. In 2023, Taste Winter Soup Program provided 800 1/2 gallons of soup from 8 regional chefs to assist in filling the refrigerator up with healthy, nutritious food alternatives.
2024 will see this program expanded to other food banks in our region.
A Farm Less Ordinary – Bluemont, Virginia
Through our Blue Ridge Sprout Festival, this project received a check for $500 to help them restock for their 2022 growing season. They are an on-profit farm whose mission is to provide a welcoming community and employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and provide them with their first paychecks.