Funded! This project was successfully funded on October 18, 2012.

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From something borrowed to something new: Support Huntington's hip, healthy local food market

The Wild Ramp is Ramping Up!

Folks, the market is open -- now it's time to Ramp Up! The Wild Ramp is a new non-traditional and convenient farmers market in Huntington, W.Va. Meant to provide fresh, local food to the area once coined "America's Fattest City," The Wild Ramp serves as much more than just a market. The Wild Ramp is now an educational center that allows people to learn how to support local farmers and businesses, while at the same time gaining easy access to fresh, local food for our families.

Our town needed The Wild Ramp, now The Wild Ramp needs you.

The Wild Ramp is filling a need in downtown Huntington for a grocery store that sells healthy, fresh food. For several years people have been asking how we could get a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods Market downtown. As it turns out we didn't have to recruit a chain store. We just had to look within. The Wild Ramp addresses this unmet need with its retail-style farmers' market in Heritage Station.

The Wild Ramp is a non-profit organization whose mission is to operate a year-round community-supported market that provides a viable economic outlet for local food producers while providing consumers access to locally grown agricultural products.  The store is staffed wholly by volunteers, which keeps operating costs low to benefit our farmers. 

Our name came from a Facebook naming contest, and is named after the traditional Appalachian delicacy (that tastes somewhere between an onion and a garlic) that is one of the first greens to emerge in Spring. 

The Idea...

The idea started with an article in the Washington Post by Jane Black about Local Roots, a local foods market in Wooster, Ohio. A meeting was held to discuss the possibilities of starting a similar market in Huntington. That was the first of several meetings and Chat n' Chew discussions that were attended by approximately 60 community members including consumers, producers, Marshall University students, and restaurant owners who were interested in supporting the idea.

The Reality...

In March several people took a trip to Local Roots to see if their business structure could work for us in Huntington. A group of local farmers and consumers formed a working group, and a storefront was located, walls were painted, volunteers were recruited, and farmers were invited to start selling food. The Wild Ramp opened for business as an outdoor market on July 11, 2012.

The first day The Wild Ramp was open for business - as an outdoor market!
The first day The Wild Ramp was open for business - as an outdoor market!


Community volunteers have logged over 3,000 hours on this project since late March. Over $45,000 has been invested to date including cash, volunteer labor, professional services, materials and equipment. There are 10 Lifetime and 125 yearly Friends of the Market. The Wild Ramp Facebook page has over 1400 “likes”. On a recent Saturday there were 15 volunteers, two contractors and an architect working on the shop. They logged over 112 hours. This is truly a community-supported market!


The Wild Ramp is everything the community dreamed it could be. There are over 100 products in the market, offered by over 40 local producers and farmers, most living within 100 miles of the store. Farmers set their own prices for their goods and get 90% of their selling price.  Farmers tell us they love not having to stop work on the farm to go sit at the Farmers' Market- they can bring their goods to us whenever it's convenient for them.  Shoppers tell us that they love buying fresh food from local farmers. What's not to love about supporting our local economy while eating tastier food?

The market interior- we're using tables and tablecloths borrowed from a local church, shelves we repurposed from a dumpster, and donated freezers!
The market interior- we're using tables and tablecloths borrowed from a local church, shelves we repurposed from a dumpster, and donated freezers!

The Economics....

The fifteen counties that make up a 75 mile radius around Huntington spend 1.8 billion dollars every year on food. Less than 1% of that money currently goes to local farmers. There is a huge opportunity for economic growth from within by creating a marketplace for locally grown food and agricultural products. According to a recent study, if West Virginia farmers grew enough fruits and vegetables to meet the in-season fresh produce needs of all state residents it would require less than 10% of available farmland. Such a shift would also generate 1,723 new jobs and contribute an additional $ 35.7 million in local sales. The Wild Ramp is helping make this potential growth a reality.

Today...

The market has come a long way from its humble beginnings as an open air market held on borrowed tables outside to an indoor rented space with a real cooler and freezers. However, our cooler was packed to the gills this week with raspberries, Snowville Creamery milk, tofu, Laurel Valley Creamery cheeses, fresh eggs from 5 small farms (including duck eggs!), ready-to-eat food from Mission Savvy in Charleston, and tofu and bean burgers.  We are simply running out of room to provide all the great food everyone wants to buy!  We need more capacity.  We also had an issue last week where our borrowed tables were needed for another event.  We really need display tables of our own!

We also need a produce scale, a permanent checkout counter, and wheeled produce display units so we can add an outdoor market easily. The Wild Ramp also wants to provide more information on the products and the farms they came from as well as more outdoor signage so people can find us. Signage is an important part of getting our message out. In order to “Ramp Up” the market the following items are needed:

  • $300 - for a laminating machine and supplies (for in-store signage).
  • $1600 - for a commercial grade produce scale- legal for trade.
  • $3000 - for a commercial grade refrigeration unit.
  • $1000 - for up-cycled materials to create produce carts. (labor donated)
  • $1000 - for up-cycled materials to create a new checkout counter. (labor donated)
  • $2100 - for The Wild Ramp exterior signage, window signage and cooler signage.
  • $500 - for folding tables of our own.

Thank you for looking at our project and we hope you'll consider donating to our cause for some of our fun locally-produced rewards! 

Our popular upcycled shopping bags!  Each of these is made from a 100 pound feed sack (donated by our farmers) and sewn into a shopping bag by our energetic volunteers!  Each hand-crafted and hand-stenciled bag takes over an hour to create.
Our popular upcycled shopping bags! Each of these is made from a 100 pound feed sack (donated by our farmers) and sewn into a shopping bag by our energetic volunteers! Each hand-crafted and hand-stenciled bag takes over an hour to create.
Our exclusive aprons- made by volunteers from feedbags donated by farmers.  These are NOT for sale- the only way to get one is by donating!
Our exclusive aprons- made by volunteers from feedbags donated by farmers. These are NOT for sale- the only way to get one is by donating!
A local artist- Grace Gooding of Goodness Gracious- has made these batik Wild Ramp shirts available at the $350 level and above.  There are other shirt designs coming- or you can choose a handcrafted mug- pictures coming soon!
A local artist- Grace Gooding of Goodness Gracious- has made these batik Wild Ramp shirts available at the $350 level and above. There are other shirt designs coming- or you can choose a handcrafted mug- pictures coming soon!

Here's some of our latest blog love: 

http://my3littlebirdsblog.com/2012/10/the-wild-ramp.html

http://cafehuntington.com/articles/the-wild-ramp-and-us/

http://goodnessgraciouswv.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/the-wild-ramp-kickstarter-campaign/

And lastly, here is what someone who just stopped in to see us had to say: 

http://foodmeonce.com/2012/09/03/my-new-favorite/

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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    The Wild Ramp + YOU = Success Level - Our dedicated volunteers will write you a personalized Thank You note on our community board.

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    23 backers

    In The Know Level - All of the above rewards, plus you'll receive our monthly electronic delivery of The Wild Ramp Newsletter. You may opt out of receiving correspondences at anytime.

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    We Love The Wild Ramp Level - All of the above rewards, plus share your enthusiasm with a Wild Ramp car or bike decal, available for pick up at the Wild Ramp, or include $1 additional, for postal delivery.

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    Stampede Level - All of the above rewards, plus a set of four local artist's original hand stamped 4x6 images of wild ramps from a hand carved linoleum block. Please include an additional $1 if you would like postal delivery.

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    Turning up the Heat Level - All of the above rewards, plus a cookbook of recipes inspired by the producers and products at The Wild Ramp. Please include an additional $3 if you would like postal delivery.

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    You Have Class Level - All of the above rewards, plus The Wild Ramp will send you to school, or rather to a store-sponsored class of your choosing. One free class offered by The Wild Ramp, for one person to be attended by December 2013!

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    Rocking the Farm Scene Level - All of the above rewards, plus claim your full color 2013 Wild Ramp producers photo calendar. Please include an additional $3 if you would like postal delivery.

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    Friends with Benefits Level - All of the above rewards, plus you are going to love being a Friend of the Wild Ramp for the next full year (includes the up-cycled shopping bag and all the Friend benefits with none of the volunteer commitment). This special Kickstarter-Friend reward includes a one year subscription to SavorWV! magazine. Already a friend? We would be happy to give you a second upcycled bag and the magazine subscription, or gift the reward level to a friend!

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    Artisan Level - All of the above rewards, plus your choice of a local artist created T-shirt OR ceramic mug. Please include an additional $5 for shipping, if desired. Specify Tshirt OR mug with your payment.

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    Down on the Farm Level - All of the above rewards, plus the opportunity to Meet a Wild Ramp Producer on a farm tour! You will provide your own transportation to the farm, and arrangements will be made between you, The Wild Ramp and an available local farm. This level also includes a Wild Ramp producers gift box valued at $50 in product.

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    Open for Business Level - Thank you for paying our rent for a month! We will shout it to the high hills with a month of social media love (consisting of a blog feature, and at least three Facebook promotions and other social media as we make use of it), and the exclusive Wild Ramp up-cycled apron (the same aprons worn by Wild Ramp volunteers). This package also Includes rewards at and below the $350 Artisan Level.

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    Start your OWN food-based business level - Thinking about starting your own food-based business to sell goods at The Wild Ramp? That's what we're all about- supporting our local economy, so we're excited to offer top-notch promotional video services or other marketing services such as a static website or logo design package from Brent Patterson, who created our fun video featured in Update #5. This service is valued at up to $500 (about 10 hours of work) and will help to make your new or existing business successful!.

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    Kit & Caboodle with 21 At The Frederick - You will enjoy a dinner for four at 21 At The Frederick, one of Huntington, WV's finest restaurants. The chefs and owners at 21 At The Frederick have long had a commitment to using local foods, and source many of their ingredients from local farmers. Dinner plans will be arranged between you, The Wild Ramp and the restaurant, and will feature Wild Ramp sourced local food. This reward includes all rewards at and below the $350 Artisan Level, as well as an exclusive upcycled The Wild Ramp apron.

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    Kit and Caboodle with Savannah's - You will enjoy a dinner for two at Savannah's, an award winning restaurant located in Huntington, WV. Savannah's owner, Ava, is a "regular" at The Wild Ramp, taking back fresh vegetables and herbs to augment their tasty menu. Dinner plans will be arranged between you, The Wild Ramp and the restaurant, and will feature Wild Ramp sourced local food. This reward includes all rewards at and below the $350 Artisan Level, as well as an exclusive upcycled The Wild Ramp apron.

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    Kit & Caboodle with Backyard Pizza and Raw Bar - You will enjoy a private pizza dinner for four at Backyard Pizza and Raw Bar, located in downtown Huntington, WV. Dinner will include fresh oysters and special pizzas featuring local fresh food from The Wild Ramp. Dinner plans will be arranged between you, The Wild Ramp and the restaurant, and will feature Wild Ramp sourced local food. This reward includes all rewards at and below the $350 Artisan Level, as well as an exclusive upcycled The Wild Ramp apron.

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    Kit & Caboodle with La Famiglia - You will enjoy a private pasta or pizza dinner for four at La Famiglia, a family-owned restaurant in the Southern Italian tradition of Calabria, located in Huntington, WV. La Famiglia has their own vegetable garden in their cafe, and also are "regulars" at our market, buying fresh local tomatoes and peppers for their menu. Dinner plans will be arranged between you, The Wild Ramp and the restaurant, and will feature Wild Ramp sourced local food. This reward includes all rewards at and below the $350 Artisan Level, as well as an exclusive upcycled The Wild Ramp apron.

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    Kit & Caboodle with Sip and River & Rail Bakery - You will enjoy a private dinner for four at River & Rail Bakery, located in beautiful historic Heritage Station near The Wild Ramp in Huntington, WV. The owners of Sip and River & Rail Bakery will serve a meal featuring fresh local food from The Wild Ramp as well as a dessert from River and Rail Bakery. Both local restaurants source ingredients from The Wild Ramp for their menus and River & Rail sells their locally famous baked goods at The Wild Ramp. Dinner plans will be arranged between you, The Wild Ramp and the restaurants, and will feature Wild Ramp sourced local food. This reward includes all rewards at and below the $350 Artisan Level, as well as an exclusive upcycled The Wild Ramp apron.

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- (30 days)