Written by Emily Glaser | Photos by Anthony Harden
The folks at Mother Earth Produce believe the merits of eating and supporting local are self-evident: It’s good for your body, your community, and your planet.
Despite farmers markets and co-ops, in spite of CSAs (community supported agriculture) and home gardens, only a negligible percentage of the food we eat is grown locally. Graham and Andrea DuVall, co-founders of local grocery delivery service Mother Earth Produce, are on a mission to change that.
“The research that we’re doing is that the most dynamic way, right now, short-term, to scale local food is through really innovative food hubs,” says Graham. His hand rises to adjust his hat brim as he surveys the bustling scene of his business, a half-dozen sets of hands packing fresh, butter yellow summer squash, pints of crisp sugar snap peas, and dirt-dusted roots into cardboard boxes. Those boxes, loaded with summer’s abundant produce, will be loaded into vans and deposited on doorsteps across the region.
This is an innovative food hub in action.
“These are the kind of pioneer businesses that are beginning to bridge the gap to get those local food sales,” he continues, noting the shockingly low percentage—he estimates it to be only about one percent—of total national food sales that are actually local. “It’s businesses like us and cooperatives, innovative food hubs, that are the ones that are starting to try to push that number into two, three, five percent. That’s what we’re all about: The more that we can create a resilient model, the more that we can scale and expand, which is a part of our vision. I feel like we have created something really smart. Not all food hubs can be the same; they need to be very authentic for the community that they’re in; but we are creating a really strong template for scaling locally grown food.”
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