Here at The Wild Ramp we like numbers. Some of our favorite numbers right now are 153 – the number of producers we have signed on. Another great number is $503,400 – the amount we have paid back to local producers since opening in July 2012. Half a million dollars paid to your friends and neighbors. Other cool numbers include 250 – all producers are located within 250 miles of Huntington. Speaking of our producers another number we are proud of is 75 – 75% of our producers are located within 50 miles of Huntington.
Two of our most important numbers are 10 and 90. Almost all of our products are sold on consignment. In an effort to provide the best value possible to our customers, while at the same time ensuring that producers are receiving sustainable pricing for their goods, we allow our producers to set their own prices and only take a 10% cut of those prices. That’s right, folks, for every $1.00 spent at The Wild Ramp we only receive 10 cents.
So how do we make that work? Well, it takes a village to support a local foods market. A big part of our village is the City of Huntington and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture who have provided a variety of financial support. We also actively seek out grants related to our mission. We also have occasional crowdfunding campaigns and general fundraising events.
We also rely on volunteer labor to support our management team which leads us to another important number – 500. It takes approximately 500 volunteer hours each month to keep The Wild Ramp operating successfully. When you enter the market you will most likely be greeted by a smiling volunteer. Volunteers also run the cash register, replenish empty bins and baskets, and do all of the things that keep our market spic and span. We have a fantastic group of volunteer bloggers who test out recipes, try new products, and venture out to visit our producers. Without those 500 volunteer hours the 10/90 split is simply not feasible.
So, what keeps our volunteers returning week after week? Some of our volunteers choose to spend their time at the market because they support the buy local movement. Some are here because they value access to the freshest, local foods available. We have several producers who also volunteer on a regular basis. We have received a few inquiries as to if there are any perks to volunteering at the market. While there are no official perks there are many unofficial ones. Volunteering at The Wild Ramp puts you front and center with a growing community of people dedicated to supporting local agriculture and providing this community with the freshest, most flavorful, food available. Many friendships have formed between volunteers and between volunteers and the producers they see on a regular basis. There is a dedicated group of Tuesday volunteers that eagerly await their weekly visit from Martin of Four Season Farm. He brings his eggs, bread, and honey. He also brings with him tales from his farm (located in Leon, WV) and his quick smile and easy laugh. We also have a few volunteers that have made the move from volunteer to producer. Sonia of 3 Chicks a Bakin’ is a notable example. Her baked goods are now available at The Wild Ramp as well as other shops around town.
Some of our volunteers prefer the quiet of a Monday morning when the important issues of the day are picking through produce and rearranging the market so that it looks its best. Others prefer the hustle and bustle of Saturday when two hours can go by in the blink of an eye. Some volunteers choose to offer up a few hours after work so that others in our community have the opportunity stop in on their way home and pick up a few things for dinner. The unifying thread for all of our volunteers is that they recognize the importance of what happens here at The Wild Ramp every day and they want to help in whatever way they can.
If you would like to be a part of our 500 number give us a call at 304-523-7267 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.