Molly Harris was first inspired to support the local food movement in the late 90’s when spending summers in Vermont with her three very young children and was reminded of her own childhood and the fabulous fresh food she enjoyed growing up. It was this recollected appreciation that motivated her to open her own restaurant, Edible Garden, in 2004 showcasing seasonally sourced ingredients and educating customers on the importance of supporting their local agricultural community and economy.
In late 2008, Molly began an online farmers market with the farmers serving the restaurant and the customers seeking their fabulous ingredients for their own pantries. The next spring, the online food hub, Fall Line Farms, opened a second season of business with an innovative software solution designed by Harris and developed locally. The online platform, Lulus Local Food, enabled the food hub to grow from 25 farmers selling to one pick up location to over fifty farmers selling to five pick up locations around the city. Today, the hub, now merged with sister hub, Local Roots Food Co-op, supports over 100 local farmers and serving over 20 locations throughout the metro Richmond area. Recently acquired by supporter VaFAIRS, Lulus Local Food software is now licensed by small farms, CSAs, farmers markets and food hubs throughout the state of Virginia and across the country in Ohio, Illinois, Texas and Montana.
As the founder of this ever-expanding project, Harris has involved herself in many aspects of the local food movement in Virginia including serving on the executive committees for the Virginia Food System Council and the Virginia Farmers Direct Marketing Association, a founding member of the Virginia Farm to School Working Group, a participant in the Richmond City Mayor’s Food Council and leader of the Richmond Area Buy Fresh Buy Local Chapter. Dedicated to supporting small family farms and promoting and educating communities on the value of supporting local food, she continues to search out opportunities to strengthen regional local food systems and the farmers that rely on them.