At its core, the organization provides access to fresh, healthy, sustainable, and value-filled foods for all people, promoting individual health and food security. Concurrently, Headwater Foods seeks to build an economy around a local food system, support local sustainable farmers, create jobs for local urban and rural people and develop our region’s ability to retain more of the wealth spent on food in this area. This holistic approach that brings together the individual, social, economic, and ecological health of our communities and citizens is the foundation supporting all of Headwater Foods’ endeavors. Connecting schools and educational institutions in our area with year-round access to regionally-grown foods is one of those endeavors. At a time when schools across the country are re-examining the food they provide to their students, the sourcing of that food has become an integral point of discussion. While many schools have a desire to incorporate more regionally grown products, they struggle to line up the demands of the school year with what the regional growing season can provide. Chris Hartman, owner of Headwater Foods, explains that his organization is changing the game by “providing access to fruits and vegetables frozen at the peak of the growing season and making them available to our schools and universities throughout the school year.”
Both the University of Rochester and the Harley School have made sourcing more regional food and supporting the farms and economy behind it a priority. And Headwater Foods is proud to have these two Rochester institutions at the helm of its Farm to School efforts. In addition to connecting institutions and restaurants to regionally grown products, Headwater Foods runs The Good Food Collective, a multi-farm community supported agriculture (CSA) project offering both summer and winter memberships. The GFC just finished its third summer season with a sold-out membership of 500 members. In its second season, this year’s winter CSA is expected to provide over 350 members in the area with regionally grown frozen and fresh vegetables and fruits. Through these various efforts, Headwater Foods is creating a food hub and local processing capacity to provide a year-round supply chain of sustainable regionally grown foods.