Farm to Family is a bridge from farm to city, distributing locally grown food to families in urban areas and educating people about food security. We use two methods for accomplishing our mission: a year-round indoor farmer’s market and a converted 1987 international diesel school bus! Our indoor market and our Farm Bus both carry fresh grown seasonal and local produce, organic local meats, fresh local dairy, and other homemade products. We use the Farm Bus as an extension of our market so that we can target areas that don’t have access to fresh food and teach people how to cook it. We want people to be proactive about changing bad eating habits and we can help anyone accomplish this goal if they are willing and have the desire!
We occasionally bring small farm animals (chickens and rabbits) along with us so children can see the connections between themselves and from where their food comes. You can actively take part in the new slow food movement by shopping with us or volunteering at the Farm. We also hand out free seeds to children so they can start their own gardens and learn where real food comes from. We are also qualified to accept EBT cards (food stamps) for those struggling families in the community.
If you are a farmer or small grower or know someone that sells wholesale or has a surplus of produce, please contact us so we can establish a relationship. We are trying to stay with clean (no chemicals) products and have a full disclaimer (free advertising for the farmer) on where the produce came from and how it was grown.
We are very excited about this venture. Please help us succeed by spreading the word/love, find us when/where you can and buy something or make a donation to our cause. This is a community based concept that will not succeed without support. Every little bit helps us stay afloat and eventually we can expand enabling us to reach more communities in need and create jobs!
ABOUT US — FARM TO FAMILY TEAM
MARK LILLY, FOUNDER
Mark Lilly founded Farm to Family/The Farm Bus as a mobile farmer’s market in a retrofitted school bus in 2009. The mission evolved to include a Farmer’s Market and USA Farm Shares (Urban Supported Agriculture) in Richmond and Washington, DC in 2010. Bus Farm, a non-profit urban farm and educational center, was formed in 2012 to teach everyone the importance of fresh, local, sustainable food and encourage people to farm and garden, support local agriculture, become health conscious and food secure.
Mark is passionate about sustainable agriculture and is an outspoken advocate for our food rights. He is a sought after speaker on food security and has spoken at the Virginia Weight of the State Conference, addressed congressional staffers at Farm Food Voices 2011 at the US Senate, a panelist and presenter at Growing Power’s International Conference 2012, presenter at University of DC 2011 International Sustainability Conference and speaker at the 2nd Virginia Food Security Summit. Along with his wife, Suzi, he leads the Richmond, VA Mayor’s Food Policy Council sub-committee on Food Security. In addition to local news, he has been featured on BBC World News, People Magazine, the Rachael Ray Show, and CBN News.
Mark has a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, 1995, and was in a Masters program at the University of Richmond studying Disaster Science and Emergency Management, 2009. He is also a military veteran, served in the US Marines and the US Army as a combat engineer, artillery and light infantry and was in the Virginia National Guard Reserve. He has traveled and lived all over the world.
SUZI MILES-LILLY, CO-FOUNDER
Suzi Miles-Lilly, LMT, CMT, BA co-founded Farm to Family with her husband, Mark Lilly. She is a nationally certified (NCBTMB) massage therapist licensed in NY and Virginia, a member of the AMTA, and practitioner of reiki. She is a graduate of the College of New Rochelle, the Swedish Institute, NYC and received yoga teacher training at Integral Yoga Institute in NYC.
Along with her husband, Mark, she was a presenter at University of DC 2011 International Sustainability Conference, and co-leads the Richmond, VA Mayor’s Food Policy Council sub-committee on Food Security.
She worked in the entertainment and publishing industries for many years in New York City. Suzi has provided healing services since 1996 with her own corporate massage company. Her healing work focuses on spirit, energy and mind as well as body, to allow natural healing to occur. Nutritional counseling is a major part of her practice and begins with whole, dense nutritious foods.
Suzi comes from farming roots in northern New York’s Adirondack Foothills and was a 4-Her for 9 years. Take a moment to visit the Farm to Family Wife blog for a personal look into the wife half of Farm to Family.
KRISSY ETZ, MARKET COORDINATOR
Krissy has been with us since December 2011. She spent 5 months on a small organic farm in the Cuyahoga Valley in Ohio after she graduated from James Madison University in the spring of 2011. Her interest in sustainable agriculture was sparked during a 2 month overseas trip to Malta working with GAIA Foundation to reintroduce indigenous Maltese olive trees to the landscape. When not at the market, Krissy works part time with Richmond Orchard Works and Tricycle Gardens. She hopes to one day start an edible plant nursery.
DEVIN HUNTER, MARKET COORDINATOR
Devin Hunter became a member of the Farm to Family team in September 2012. Her interest in environmental issues blossomed during her employment at the Virginia League of Conservation Voters. Nearly three years ago she became a vegetarian and since that time has become very interested in where her food comes from.
Upon completion of her B.A. at VCU, she became a Domestic Violence Advocate for several years. After a lot of soul- searching, she left the domestic violence field in July 2012 to intern with Tricycle Gardens. Over the last few months she has planted, harvested, and sold produce and plants to the Richmond community. This experience has taught her sustainable farming practices and the importance of using a farm to table approach.
Devin recently completed the Hanover Master Gardener Training Program, an initiative of the Virginia Cooperative Extension. As a Master Gardener Intern, she volunteers with the Hanover Extension Office providing environmentally sound horticulture education to the community through workshops, plant clinics, and hotline calls. During her spare time she enjoys making her own home and beauty products and blogging about those experiences on her website- Only With Love.
MARISSA MARKLEVITZ, INTERN
Marissa is a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning student at VCU, concentrating on food security planning. She knows that food is the most important element to human survival and access to good, healthy food is our right as human beings, not a privilege. Marissa advocates buying local foods because it is an important part of supporting healthy food production and helping our local economy, while creating a sustainable cycle, lowering our dependence on foreign products. Marissa has enjoyed her time at Farm to Family and believes the education she received here has been indispensable.