Fresh food movement grows across Roanoke Valley - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Fresh food movement grows across Roanoke Valley

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A growing trend is helping to put healthier foods on the table, support local farmers and also increase jobs in the community. Economic development officials said more restaurants are buying local products from area farmers.

Chris Parkhurst knows a lot about putting food on the table. He owns Firefly Fare in downtown Roanoke. Parkhurst is part of a growing movement to provide fresh vegetables and meals to customers and also support farmers across the Roanoke and New River Valleys.

"A lot of it is simply talking to the farmers in the wintertime and getting them to grow certain things for you" said Parkhurst.

There are several restaurants including Firefly Fare, Blue Apron in Salem, as well as River and Rail in Roanoke, get their foods from local farmers. Economic development officials said the "farm to table" movement provides a boost to the overall economy.

"It all ties together" said Wayne Bowers, Roanoke Economic Development Director. "When one sector of the economy is doing good, others sectors will come along and compliment each other."

Agriculture is a big industry in Virginia. Bowers said when restaurants purchase straight from farmers, instead of outside distributors, the economy grows. Parkhurst said during the off-season he may pay 10 to 15% more for some locally produced goods. However, he feels the fresh products are worth the added cost.

Restaurant owners hope buying locally grown foods will help keep more jobs and money in the community.

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