Molly Harris was first inspired to support the local food movement in 1999 when spending summers in Vermont with her three very young children and was reminded of her own childhood and the fabulous fresh food she enjoyed growing up. It was this recollected appreciation that motivated her to open her own restaurant, Edible Garden, in 2004 showcasing locally sourced ingredients and educating customers on the importance of supporting their local agricultural community.
In late 2008, Molly began an online farmers market with the farmers serving the restaurant and the customers seeking their fabulous ingredients for their own pantries. The next spring, Fall Line Farms, opened a second season of business with online capabilities, growing from 25 farmers selling to one pick up location to over fifty farmers selling to five pick up locations. Today, the hub supports over 100 local farmers and serves customers picking up orders from over a dozen pick up locations throughout the metropolitan Richmond region. Lulus Local Food, the full service online program has provided a means for starting six additional hubs with multiple pick up locations and supporting more than 250 local farmers and small businesses with weekly sales year round. As the founder of this ever expanding project, Harris has involved herself in many aspects of the local food movement in Virginia including serving on the executive committees for the Virginia Food System Council and the Virginia Farmers Direct Marketing Association, a founding member of the Virginia Farm to School Working Group, a participant in the Richmond City Mayor’s Food Council and leader of the Richmond Area Buy Fresh Buy Local Chapter.
Kristen Suokko is the Executive Director for the Local Food Hub in Charlottesville, VA. She came to the local food movement through her experience with environmental issues. She spent the first part of her career in Washington, DC working at the Natural Resources Defense Council and the US Department of Energy. In 1998 she moved to Charlottesville, Virginia to work in environmental philanthropy for the W. Alton Jones Foundation and the Blue Moon Fund, where she was part of the Harvest Now Project that led to the formation of the Local Food Hub. After a six-month Asia trip with her family in 2012, Kristen returned to Charlottesville to first chair the board and then become Executive Director of LFH. Kristen holds a degree in Russian from Middlebury College, and has served on a number of boards and civic organizations in and around Charlottesville.