The Virginia Food System Council envisions a sustainable food system contributing to the health, economic vitality and social well-being of all Virginians by working to advance a nutrient-rich and safe food system for Virginians at all income levels; it would emphasize access to local food, successful linkages between food producers and consumers, and a healthy viable future for Virginia’s farmers and farmland. Read more about our goals in the Farm to Table Report.
What is a food system?
A regional food system integrates food production, processing, distribution, consumption, and waste management to enhance the environmental, economic, social and nutritional health of a particular place.
Four aspects distinguish regional food systems from the globalized food system that typifies the source of most food Americans eat: food security, proximity, self-reliance and sustainability. (Adapted from Cornell University).
Why is it important to support our local Virginia state food system?
- Buying local food strengthens Virginia’s regional economy by keeping your money circulating within your community, keeping wealth in your region.
- Locally-grown foods pop with flavor and are high in nutrients, often reaching you within 24 hours of harvest. Out of state or imported produce may be up to two weeks old resulting in some nutrient loss.
- Buying local food supports family farmers in your community, some of whom have farmed the land for generations.
- Buying local food sustains your family and community with delicious, nutrient-rich foods!
- Local farmers’ markets and CSA farms provide places for community members to meet, socialize, and discuss issues.
- By buying local you build a relationship with your farmer and can discuss growing practices that affect the safety and nutrition of your food.
- By supporting local Virginia agriculture, you protect Virginia’s farmland from urban sprawl and development, and you help protect natural ecosystems and biodiversity.
- Supporting local farms can create jobs for your region.
- A strong local economy helps insulate your region from national and global recessions.
- Buying local food helps to reduce dependence on energy costs for transportation, thus cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions.