Back in 2012, the Wild Ramp was just a good idea: “why can’t there be a local market in the Huntington area where people can buy locally-produced food and crafts?”
Five years later and the Wild Ramp, on 14th Street in West Huntington, is a key driver of the region’s food and farm economy, representing 158 local producers and moving closer each year to almost $400,000 in annual sales. Since it opened in July of 2012, the Wild Ramp has returned more than $1.2 million to local producers.
But how did they do it?
A lot of communities across West Virginia are wrestling with the idea right now of starting some kind of local food hub or market. But every community is different – with distinct assets and challenges – and what worked for Huntington may not be what works for other places.
The good news is that the journey of the Wild Ramp taught its builders a number of core lessons that are critical for anyone hoping to start a food hub in their community.
“The Wild Ramp addressed a specific problem in our community and was built on the founders’ social networks,” says Lauren Kemp of Huntington’s Unlimited Futures, the birthplace of the Wild Ramp. “We invested our social capital to raise money from
On March 1, the folks behind the creation of the Wild Ramp will host a workshop for anyone interested in starting a local food hub or market.
Don’t dilly dally. The workshop will accommodate a maximum of 30 people, and you must register to attend.