Thank you. We could not have made it through this season without the support of our community. Despite the challenges of operating during a pandemic, the Chesterhill Produce Auction saw thousands of pounds of food come into the auction house and out to consumers. We were able to adapt quickly and operate under safe protocols, canceling only two auctions.
This year, our large Buying Club was a critical component to a successful season. We distributed to about 150 members each week for 22 weeks, offering six different pickup locations in four towns. The Buying Club collectively purchased $40,000 of local produce and food products this season. This support from Buying Club members not only allowed the auction to persist in 2020, but also directly benefitted regional farmers and our local food system.
Through our work in collaboration with Community Food Initiatives, we distributed 116,500 pounds of fresh local produce to people in 11 Counties in Ohio and West Virginia. We partnered with Coplin Health Systems and Hopewell to reach 433 individual households that received weekly shares of produce through their health clinics. These partnerships helped support local farmers during a year when the demand fell from bigger buyers like restaurants and institutions. “Almost $100,000 went directly to producers from our food access programs,” says Director of Sustainable Agriculture Tom Redfern, “I’m really proud of that.”
Our team embraced fall with the smell of apples during Apple Crunch Day and freshly baked pies at the Pie Day Fundraiser Auction. Both of these annual events supported children eating local produce at school. On Apple Crunch Day we celebrated fresh local food by delivering 1,800 pounds of apples to all Athens County schools for over 5,000 students to enjoy. And at the Pie Day Fundraiser Auction, we raised almost $1,000 for our Farm to School program. We are grateful to the 25 individuals and businesses that donated over 90 pies to be auctioned!
While so much felt different about this year, we stayed grounded in this important work and in continuing to see the growers, customers, and community members that give the Chesterhill Produce Auction so much life. Reflecting on highlights from the season, Tom listed, “Seeing the team that rose up, the community support, and the growers helping out so much.” Check out some of the photos we snapped this season…