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, with an emphasis on 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 is a food system in which food production, processing, distribution and consumption are integrated 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.
- Locally-grown foods pop with flavor and are high in nutrients, often reaching you within 24 hours of harvest. Out of state produce may be up to a week old and has often suffered nutrient loss.
- Purchasing food that was grown and harvested locally keeps your money circulating within your community, keeping wealth in your region.
- 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, healthy local foods!
- Local farmers markets and CSA farms provide places for community members to meet, socialize, and discuss issues.
- Buying local lets you build a relationship with your farmer and discuss issues concerning the safety and nutrition of your food.
- By supporting local Virginia agriculture, you protect your Virginia’s farmland from urban sprawl and development and you help protect natural ecosystems and biodiversity.
- Supporting local farms can help to create jobs for your region.
- A strong local economy insulates your region from national and global recessions.
- Buying local food helps to reduce dependence on foreign oil needed to ship food thousands of miles, thus cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions.