FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 20, 2022
The Wild Ramp awarded $464,135 capacity building grant from the USDA
Huntington, W.Va. — The Wild Ramp, a nonprofit, year-round, indoor farmers market was awarded a $464,135 capacity building grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as part of the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program at the end of 2021. The funds are allocated for use in implementing an online ordering system to further expand the availability and access to local food in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since 2012, The Wild Ramp has connected consumers to their local farming community. Eighty percent of sales go back to the producer. Our mission of providing fresh, nutritious food to Huntington and its surrounding area through our nonprofit local food market has had a positive impact in the Tristate,” said The Wild Ramp’s Market Director, Shelly Keeney. “The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for contact-free sales. Our response to the pandemic is to implement an online ordering platform to complement our current storefront. This platform will allow us to expand our business even further. Customers will, once implemented, have the option of shopping in person, or online from the comfort of their home. This grant will also help us continue to grow our local food economy by increasing farmer and food producer revenues through another viable outlet.”
Specifically, grant funds will be used to upgrade The Wild Ramp’s computer system, redevelop the market’s website, rent space to house online inventory, lease refrigeration units to properly store online inventory, revitalize The Wild Ramp’s marketing strategy, and expand personnel to manage the online market.
Former Harvest Kitchen Chef, Devyn Messinger, has been hired as the Online Manager, and a lease has been signed for a new E-commerce building at 518 14th Street West.
“The Online Food Hub will be a key component towards living out our mission of continuing to grow and support a vibrant economy and community for local food,” said Online Manager Devyn Messinger. “My role as the Online Manager will be to work with farmers to coordinate and plan weekly produce boxes to ensure our customers get the freshest produce possible and oversee daily operations. We work with these farmers every day, and we value the hard work they put in so that we have access to fresh, local food. I think it is crucial for our community to know exactly where their food comes from, and this Online Food Hub will do just that. My main goal is to support and encourage our farmers in their efforts to sell online while promoting and introducing local food into all areas of the Tristate.”
The Wild Ramp also plans to fill a minimum of three more positions to accommodate the new online market, including an assistant chef to help increase production for The Wild Ramp’s Harvest Kitchen online sales.
The online market is in works to launch this spring.
About The Wild Ramp
The Wild Ramp (Tri-State Local Foods, Inc.) is a year-round, nonprofit farmers market based in Huntington, West Virginia, with a mission to grow and support a vibrant economy and community for local food, food products and artisan goods. The Wild Ramp is located at 555 14th Street W, Huntington. Market hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call 304.523.7267 or visit wildramp.org.