How We are Giving Back to Our Blue Ridge Community
Taste of Blue Ridge is a community of chefs, farmers, food artisans, and locales who love where they live. Working under the umbrella of the Community Foundation of the Northern Shenandoah Valley, Taste raises money for a non-endowment fund used for grant programs to support security food issues.
Our community believes 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.
Our Root to Table Culinary Series events provides us with fantastic opportunities to raise funds for these endeavors. We also have the support of our “Friends of our Food Insecurity and Education” Platform. We also host annual Pot Luck Dinners, allowing the agricultural and culinary communities to network and support the programs below.
Taste of Blue Ridge’s 2023 philanthropic projects/activities/initiative
Taste of Blue Ridge has established a grant program for local chapters to apply to based on their initiatives centered on food insecurity. The August 14th event will be a major fundraiser for this initiative. Each year the purpose of the grant program will be evaluated by our action group of community partners.
The FFA is an excellent leadership program for young people, similar to the Eagle Scout program with the Boy Scouts of America. Our goal is to encourage them to look at the agricultural and culinary industry for careers.
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 their time to speak and provide guidance to the students looking for culinary careers.
C-Capp has identified four food desert areas in Winchester where there is a severe need for food. With limited transportation and no close grocery stores, food insecurity is a reality for these neighborhoods.
Taste’s goal is to connect our chefs and farmers to C-Capp to assist in filling the refrigerator up with healthy food alternatives, including produce and prepared foods. C-Capp will open its first unit in May.
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 a on-profit farm whose mission i to provide a welcoming community and employment top people with intellectual and development disabilities and provide them with their first paychecks.
Jefferson County Agricultural Coalition – Charles Town, West Virginia
With a $125,000 grant from the US Department of Agriculture, the JCAC develops refrigeration facilities where farmers can deliver their products. The product is then available to the public, government entities, and restaurant owners. They are exploring a delivery option for government entities and restaurants.