2010 Meeting Minutes

February 12, 2010
May 1, 2010
July 13, 2010
September 15, 2010
November 17, 2010

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February 12, 2010

VIRGINIA FOOD SYSTEM COUNCIL
6th Meeting Minutes, February 12, 2010,
 10 AM – 2:30 PM
JABA, Charlottesville, VA.
 ATTENDEES:

Eric Bendfeldt, VCE, Facilitator
Chris Carpenter, W&L Dining, Co-Facilitator
Matt Benson, VCE
Charles Green, VDACS
Mike Foreman, DCR
Scott Wood, Cavalier Produce
Mike Waldmann, Soc. of St. Andrew
Larry Zippin, BRAFB
Heidi Hertz, VDH
Katherine Smith, VABF
Don Loock, PEC
Judy Berger, JABA
Molly Harris, RAFSC
Lynda Fanning, VDA, Recorder

Pre-meeting and meeting handouts:

  •  Council Meeting Minutes, Nov. 6, 2009, Airlie
  •  Agenda, Feb.12
  • Council Objectives, Project Goals, and Assessment Outline from UC Davis

Welcome, Brief Introductions, and Approval of Minutes

  • Welcome to JABA, and welcome to new Council Director Heidi Hertz, representing the Dept of Health.
  • Motion by Katherine, seconded by Mike F. and unanimous vote to approve Feb 12 minutes.

  Food System Assessment

  • See attachment: a broad list of indicators used by UC Davis, to choose from.
  • Hiring Ken Meter is still on the table, possibly after data is gathered.
  • Cecily Kihn, as a potential supporter, is still interested in how we’ll proceed with an assessment, from production to consumption, and determining infrastructure needs.
  • Several Council Directors offered to expedite the process by collecting data from their own agencies’ various resources, databanks, and GPS; then combining as various visual  map overlays.
  • Committee formed: Co-led by Don Loock and Charles Green:Mike Foreman, Molly Harris, Spenser Neale, and Scott Wood

Recognition of Council

  • Delegate Scott’s Joint Resolution for an annual Farm to School Day, and listing the Council as a supportive entity, has passed unanimously in the House.
  • SB 414, with Patron Sen. Vogel and HB 1067 Del. Athey for school food standards, adding breakfast, and prohibiting all competitive foods sold.  This will be a big order for schools which will have to provide details on how to reach these standards.  Will be an opportunity for the Council to assist, i.e., when a food item has to be eliminated, might locally sourced foods fill the gap?  Noted that this bill is supported by the Dept of Ed, School Nutrition Assn., the AAP, and the AHA.
  • New Role for our Policy Committee: While there are strong lobbyists from such organizations as the above, it could only help for the Council to send letters of support, not to mention gaining more official exposure for the Council.Don Loockoffered to follow legislation for which bills would be appropriate for us to send such a letter, and Mike F. offered to write them. Heidi will also assist and will work with the Policy Committee.
  • Del. Lohr’s bill, HB398, encouraging procurement for local foods by state institutions led to questions re: its attached Fiscal Impact Statement.  Concerns were whether consumers would pay more.

 MOTION by Katherine, seconded by Matt and Passed:   The Council will offer assistance/do homework researching positive fiscal impacts to Patrons of bills that support the Council’s Mission, such as the Patrons mentioned above, making use of data we will have collected for our Food System Assessment. Thus we will be ahead of the game if these same bills are carried over to next session.  It was noted that the Council will provide objective data and not express the political stance of any particular agency represented or by any particular Director on the Board.

Treasury and fiscal management: Katherine (Treasurer) and Chris have made all arrangements with SunTrust: have checks, a personal deposit to open an account, signatures, etc.

Special Guests: Ellen Davis, USDA Rural Development, Funding and Grant Opportunities

  • Ms. Davis’s organization is a “bank” for ARRA (stimulus money) with a structured mission:  To contribute to quality of life in rural areas, and promoting KYFKYF (Know your Food; Know your Farmer).
  • They are looking at venues where they can give funding to government or non-profit enterprises, such as community gardens, facilities where low income Virginians can put away produce by freezing/canning, upgrading school kitchens, doing water and sewer projects, and supporting Farmers’ Markets such as the new Pavilion structure for Scottsville, Va. They emphasize the importance of education-based projects.
  • The ARRA funding cycle ends on Sept 30; if we know of a project, will need to have it in by June. They leverage grants and direct loans.
  • Can do feasibility studies, capped at 25,000; their awards range from a few thousand to many millions.
  • May be able to get unused money from other states.

 

Discussion:

  • Judy Berger made a project suggestion re frozen meals for Seniors (now purchased fromFla.):  to build local freezing plants using local food per region throughout state.  Others suggested community canneries.  Need to know how many of these facilities we have in the state and where they are per map overlays.  Same for Farmers’ Markets, CSAs, any food processing facility from jam to meat and poultry, even biomass data. Some data was already developed for beef in the last couple of years.   Tanya’s policy audit tool may be helpful here.  Charles at VDACS could do a database printout.  Then the Council could determine the gaps/ areas prime for a project, or simultaneous projects, to apply for.

Motion by Katherine, Seconded by Mike Foreman, and Passed unanimously that an Assessment Committee,  Co-led by Don Loock and Charles Green, with Mike Foreman , Molly Harris, Spenser Neale, and Scott Wood will highlight a subset of the attached framework list from UC Davis  and gather data using sources such as:

  • VCE’s John Ignash, John McGee, and Jonah Fogel via Conference Call;
  • the new Food Atlas rolled out with Ms. Obama’s Let’s Move Program, listing data for all  U.S. counties, such as identifying food deserts;
  •  Data from NAS, Dept of Health, PEC, grassroots, etc.

UPDATE ON WEBSITE, LOGO, AND BROCHURE, AND POWERPOINT: Chris C.

  • The Council chose by strong consensus from several logos one that shows prominently the printed name of the Council beside a stylized two-leafed plant showing roots, to very simply represent our work.
  • The website is done, with portals for donation (and the ability to choose from donation options, i.e., Farm to School) and portals for other state food councils; it can be updated simply and will be maintained for now by Lynchburg Grows’ Micah Duda.  Has pages for Education, Library, Contacts, Pilot projects/best practices, policy, and Members only for secure info. Will be a “soft launch” so that all can go on and review and make suggestions at www.virginiafoodsystemcouncil.org .

MOTION BY KATHERINE AND SECONDED BY MIKE FOREMAN AND FULL CONSENSUS BY BOARD: THAT AFTER BOARD REVIEW THE WEBSITE WILL BE OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED IN MARCH, WHICH IS NATIONAL NUTRITION MONTH.

  • Molly presented sample pages of a Power Point about the Council that all Board Directors could use in presentations; to be on the website and be educational, including our history, goals, the Board/ photo, map of Va.

Strategic Plan:

  • Continues goals on Education and Outreach, building a Legislative Agenda, and Researching Data for an Assessment of the current Food System in Virginia.
  • Strategic Plan will be forwarded as a separate attachment; from now on it  will be reviewed annually by the Council.
  • An emphasis on collaboration: one possibility, for example, is  the restaurant group Silver Diner, for its program to donate a portion of any designated healthy meal’s purchase price to Farm to School, with the Council as a 501c3 acting as custodian of the funds. Chris is the contact.
  • An emphasis on charity incentive/gleaning/donation that keeps farmers fairly paid via donations (with tax deductions for donator), and the underserved get healthy food… a 3-way win.
  • Possibly meet with the governor’s wife, especially as our work relates to childhood obesity and healthy local food in schools, and with the governor, especially if our work impacts farm or infrastructure jobs.
  • Will work with EBT cards at Farmers’ Markets as JABA and Spotsylvania do now, via grants from Wholesome Wave Fdn.
  • An emphasis on use of local food, using models of aggregation designed to fit into an individual area, not one size fits all.

 HOLD A SUMMIT?   Food Routes, the national organization of 85 BFBL chapters will hold its annual meeting inVirginia Beach in Sept.  We may partner with them and maybe also with Virginia Fairs for a Pre-Conference Workshop with Spenser’s help revitalize the Va. Ag. Summit and get farmers there.  May model after the meeting in Kansas City that Eric has sent to the Council.

MOTION BY KATHERINE SMITH AND SECONDED BY MIKE FOREMAN WITH A UNANIMOUS VOTE THAT THE COUNCIL DEVELOP A PRECONFERENCE BEFORE THE FOOD ROUTES CONFERENCE OR TO EXPLORE OTHER OPPORTUNITIES FOR AN AG SUMMIT.

MEMBERSHIP:

  • Welcome to new Director: Heidi Hertz from the Dept of Health. Heide will send a summary of legislation of interest after crossover.
  • Eric will contact Tony Blue Washington from the Dept of Social Services to join the Board.

MOTION BY KATHERINE SMITH, SECONDED BY MIKE FOREMAN, AND UNANIMOUSLY PASSED THAT MEETING BE HELD BIMONTHLY INSTEAD OF QUARTERLY, IN ORDER TO KEEP UP MOMENTUM

Meeting adjourned at 2:30 pm.

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May 1, 2010

VIRGINIA FOOD SYSTEM COUNCIL
7th Meeting Minutes, May 7, 2010,
 9:45 AM – 2:30 PM
Virginia Farm Bureau, Richmond, VA.

ATTENDEES:
Eric Bendfeldt, VCE, Facilitator
Chris Carpenter, W&L Dining, Co-Facilitator
Matt Benson, VCE
Charles Green, VDACS
Mike Foreman, DCR
Libby Oliver, Williamsburg Farmers’ Market
Heidi Hertz, VDH
Katherine Smith, VABF
Jewel Hairston, VSU
Ben Hanna, Local Food Project
Don Loock, PEC
Judy Berger, JABA
Gordon Walker, JABA
MollyHarris, RAFSC
Lynda Fanning, VDA, Recorder
Andrea Early, H’burgCitySchools
Rick Felker, Farmer
Special Guest: Mr. Gus Schumacher, Wholesome Wave
Brian Calhoun, VCE/Virginia Tech
Judy Chambers, ITAP

Pre-meeting and Meeting Handouts:

  • Council Meeting Minutes, Feb. 12, 2010, JABA
  • Agenda, May 7, 2010
  • NC Farm toForkStateAction Guide
  • Lulus Local Food/Fall Line Farms, brochure for On-Line Co-Op (MollyHarris)
  • CaliforniaFood System in Numbers

Welcome, Brief Introductions, and Approval of Minutes: Eric

  • Welcome to the Farm Bureau.
  • Minutes approved.

Review of Council Goals: Eric

  • A clear success from Goal 2 (Policy): Joint Resolution establishing Farm to School Day passed
  • Complete regional/state assessments
  • Function as an incubator to strengthen Virginia’s Food Syste

The Council as an Incubator:  Katherine and Chris

  • How can the Council keep the energy we began with 2 years ago and serve an incubator role to network with and to generate heat for various Virginiaentities?
  • What’s in our favor?  We now have a formal organization, models (NC attached), a national focus by the current administration along with the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” Program as well as a state focus (Weight of the State, Va’s First Lady), and finally more and more USDA and other grants.
  • We will collaborate with, network with, and function as an ombudsman for various Va.entities to determine what needs to be done in Va.  (see Small Farm Today in Mo., trying to grow seafood (shrimp farms).
  • SILVER DINER:  This chain of restaurants, using local foods, is an example of “collaborating/generating heat” and is another definitive success for the Council.   (There are 18 locations in Virginia, 1-2 in NJ, and 4 in Md.)
    • Menu has our Virginia Food System Council logo and “Partnering  with Action for Kids in conjunction with Va. Food System Council.  Learn More and Get Involved at www.actionforhealthykids.org
    • Member Heidi Hertz, with the Va. Dept. of Health revised/approved their menu for heart-healthy menu items.
    • Has “Eat Well/Do Well” rewards (Earn restaurant rewards while a % of the heart-healthy menu item sales will be donated to Actions for Healthy Kids, specifically to improve  nutrition and fitness programs in local schools of the area surrounding each restaurant.
    • This fall Silver Diner will initiate the program by funding $30,000 up front company-wide, which will be funneled to 40 schools (each within 5 miles around the restaurants — Richmond, Chesapeake, Fairfax, Prince William, etc., with letters going to all the principals and food service directors.  After the program is launched, the % funding will begin to flow from the rewards cards.
    • Note that though the menu features local items, the criteria for “healthy” was based only on nutrition standards like calories, saturated fat, sodium, etc.  The local perspective is not a listed criteria for healthy but is a bonus.   
    • Question: might Silver Diner document that VFSC (as a 501c3) gets the % to distribute for them?  How can we highlight our connection?  Also, might they define local? (Some foods may come from Pa.)
    • CHRIS AND HEIDI WILL GET THE EXACT PERCENTAGE AND PRESENT THE COUNCIL A FORMAL REPORT.
    • This could be a replicable model that we promote in other restaurants:
      • Heart-Healthy meals, designed to not promote the obesity epidemic
      • A local component
      • Our logo endorses their menu program
      • Could do this in conjunction with Farm to School week. Restaurants would give cards saying 5% will go toward the highlighted annual week for this celebration.
    • PRESS RELEASE: Would need specific data re each school and a project manager for this, also working with VDACS; in general need to keep after the press re: having our name/collaboration recognized.

Special Guest Sec. Haymore unable to attend—Eric:  We need to know his priorities for Ag/Forestry, as well as the Governor’s priorities in order for the Council to best support.

Charles: speaking for Sec. Haymore, described agency personnel changes:

  • Matt Conrad is new Deputy Sec. of Agriculture, has worked as Attorney for the Va. Wine Council, and has worked in the GA re bills, i.e., lobbying for legislation related to vineyards.
  • Matt Lohr is new Commissioner of Agriculture; a former delegate, he is a farmer with strong interest/experience in local/direct marketing and also agritourism; is concerned with all scales of agriculture.
  • Priorities and interests of Sec. Haymore:
    • Economic Development
    •  Jobs.
    •  They have weekly reports on these; every issue is perceived by how it affects these two…including tourism.  Group discussed the definition of a “new” job…runs the gamut from a farm worker at $7.50/hr. to a full-tenured Ag. Professor.  Charles will investigate this definition and its minimum income.  Rick Felker gave his farm’s impressive numbers (jobs vs. payroll), speculating about the increase in jobs from transforming non-organic to organic or transforming  grain farms into produce crops.
    • Our Assessment could use data from the state (Charles) to look at overall as well as each individual farm’s payroll and how their job numbers change, published as Ag stats.

 Group Discussion:

  • An important role of the Council is to do “homework” for legislative efforts such as Del. Lohr’s recent bill to purchase from local sources for institutions.  The bill may have failed because of “anti-competitiveness”, not wanting to restrict anyone’s buying ability, or perhaps the higher prices of local producers.  The bill could not specify a percentage. In the committee, if anyone brings up a question or potential objection like the Gen. Services/Procurement comment: “Could see potential problems with this”, and IF there is no researched response prepared on what Virginians want/need, then the bill may not go forward.  Thus there is need for “homework”.  PEC does such lobbying, but was unable to during this year of budget-slashing.
  • Eric: the Council needs to identify key legislators whose bills are aligned with our goals, then work along with VDACS, Charles, and Comm. Haymore, to support them with sound information, such as Chris is now doing with Del. Scott.  And for bills related to schools, we need to get schools’ input and agreement that we advocate for their increased local purchase.
  • Need a multi-faceted legislative agenda, not putting all our efforts behind one piece of legislation… need an Action Guide, with a big picture and a strategic approach using best practices from other states as the GA is influenced by success in other states; Spencer will be key in this effort.  And Katherine: “need to build coalitions, not restricting ourselves to one way of thinking at a time.”

Note: Executive Committee with meet with Sec. Haymore.  Spencer: need to be specific in what we want, then ask whether he would support our initiatives.  Also meet with the new Sec. of Health Hazel, who, coincidentally Spencer went to high school with and would have an “in”.  Sec. Hazel, who is interested in the Governor’s/First Lady’s weight loss challenge, would need to be educated on win-win connections with the Council.

ASSESSMENT—Spencer: Assessment is a priority of this Council.

  • See the “Farm to Fork” assessment forNorth Carolina, done by Spencer’s Farm Bureau cohort in NC, had $ from tobacco whereas inVa.tobacco $ can be used for assessment only per that region. Spencer will talk to her, maybe get one of their Exec. Committee to come to our mtg to discuss; they involved a legislator.  Our main hurdle is to secure funding.
  • See also the “California Food System in Numbers: A Fact Sheet,” which analyzes the food system in numbers, for example, numbers of farms per size, numbers of schools, convenience stores, etc.
  • See USDA’s guide that outlines all their funding programs and mechanisms, i.e., Ag. Marketing, Rural Development, etc.
  • Group Comments:
    • Judy C. knows Roger Beachy of KYFKYF who would be able to meet with us re priorities of NIFA and grant possibilities.
    • Eric and Matt have drafted a plan with Ken Meter for a statewide assessment. Eric mentioned that Ken Meter will conduct a local food and farm economy study for the Shenandoah Valley.  Cecily Kihn and Jeff Mansour expressed interest in supporting the statewide assessment if we can get matching funds or in-kind contributions like facilities from the state, organizations on the Council, and other community organizations..
    • Matt: for deliverables of a grant for the state, need a current assessment, a strategic plan, 8 Regional economic studies, a directory of resources, and regional summits, as well as (Gordon) possibly out-of-sight deliverables like environmental benefits (Ches. Bay) and health aspects.  Then publish a project report like NC’s orVermont’s.  An estimated cost of $70,000 may be below what is needed.  Recommended the budgeted should be closer to $95,000 to $100,000, whic
    • Katherine: Various organizations have offered the gift of their meeting facilities around the state, i.e., VDACS; use these to show these organizations’ direct support.

MOTION BY KATHERINE, SECONDED BY DON: That the Executive Committee (EC) compare our original goals with the assessment deliverables discussed above and determine the 8 regions/areas; include organizations which can offer meeting place, and re-address the budget, with the EC empowered to approve.

VOTE: APPROVED AND MOTION CARRIED.

LULUS LOCAL FOOD—Molly Harris

Mollyhas developed a new business that evolved from ending a 5 yr. run of her local food restaurant. Capitalizing on this long-term connection  with farmers, she pulled together a replacement for these farmers’ direct sales via an “On-line Co-op,” now serving 1000 families from 75 farms and businesses, with 5 pickup locations, with 2 HUB Co-ops: Fall Line Farms and Local Roots. Great work, Molly!

Special Guest: Gus Shumacher from Wholesome Wave Foundation on expanding and supporting the growth of EBT capabilities and SNAP benefits atVirginia’s farmers’ markets.

  • WW has given 2 grants in Va:  in Spotsylvania and inCharlottesvillevia JABA.  Charlottesville City Market now welcomes EBT cards
  • This effort falls in the important area of prevention (we spend $1.21/yr on prevention per person, but $1390.00 on treatment per person). Can also do health screenings at Farmers’ Markets.  It’s all about putting the “nutrition” back in SNAP.
  • WIC program for Fruits and Veggies is successful even though only $10/mo. for these foods, or $6 for kids under 5; not operating inVirginiayet.
  • Nationally, SNAP, WIC, and Senior programs’ for fruits and veggies are very good for farmers (volume), and there’s sometimes a double value coupon. It’s a good deal for recipients too;  also often get greater volume (seconds, 4 # for $4)
  • The new Healthy Food Financing Initiative has $400 million in grant funding.  Could go to a billion, for such projects as procurement and hoop houses for extended season systems.  WW helps partners write these grants.

VIDEO on the how-to’s of local procurement for institutions, produced by Frank Melli of Meet the Farmer TV series, this segment featuring Judy Berger at JABA.  Council members can purchase both the video and book for $20. Great Resource, Judy!

SUMMITS NEEDED (Rick Felker):

  • A FoodRoutes National Conference (BFBL) will be held Sept 15-17 atVa.Beachfor with a space for the Council to meet on opening day.
  •  A Local Food Symposium will be held atVa.State on May 26.
  • Need to have one in the SW part of the state; Christy G offered to help host
  • Can tag onto VABF Annual Mtg.

NEXT MEETING: July 13, 9:45 atVa.State University at the Wilder Pavilion in Petersburg, hosted by Jewel Harrison and Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Council adjourned around 2:30

Submitted respectfully by Lynda Fanning

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July 13, 2010

VIRGINIA FOOD SYSTEM COUNCIL
8th Meeting Minutes, July 13, 2010,
 9:45 AM – 2:30 PM
Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA.ATTENDEES:
Eric Bendfeldt, VCE, Facilitator
Chris Carpenter, W&L Dining, Co-Facilitator
Matt Benson, VCE
Spencer Neale,Va.Farm Bureau
Leeann Dubois for C. Green, VDACS
Heidi Hertz, VDH
Katherine Smith, VABF
Melvin Atkinson,Va.BeachDept of Ag.
Jewel Hairston, VSU
Don Loock, PEC
Judy Berger, JABA
MollyHarris, RAFSC
Lynda Fanning, VDA, Recorder
Andrea Early, H’burgCitySchools
Rick Felker, Farmer
Hosts/Presenters:
Dr. Franklin Jackson, Assoc. Dean, VCE Programs
Dr. Robert Corley, School of Ag. and Human Ecology
Dr. Jewel Hairston, Assoc. Admin. For VCE Programs
Theresa J. Nartea, VCE, Ethnic Markets
Andy Hankins, Alternative Ag. Specialist
Dr.Brian Nerrie, Acquaculture
Dr.Reza Rafie, Horticulture Specialist
Dr. Steven Pao, Research/Food Safety Program
Fidelis Okpebholo, Field Coordinator
William Gee, Media RelationsPre-meeting and Meeting Handouts:

  • Council Meeting Minutes, May7, 2010,Va.Farm Bureau
  • Agenda, July 13, 2010
  • Action Summaries
  • Report: The Va. Farm-To-School Work Group
  • Lulus Local Food/Fall Line Farms, brochure for On-Line Co-Op (MollyHarris)
  • Handouts ofVa.StatePrograms: 2009 Aquaculture Program,Va.Pond Aquaculture, Recipes and Food Facts (for papayas and fresh ginger), Power Point of Ethnic Holidays and Farm Marketing, USDA Retail Foods Report and Pricing, a Resource  List of Ethnic Holidays and Religious Populations in Virginia and the Eastern states
  •  Virginia Community Food Enterprises or Small Farm Consolidators
  • The 2010Shenandoah ValleyBFBL Guide

Welcome, Intro’s, and Overview of Randolph Farm:  Dr. Hairston

  • Powerpoint on work of the VSU Program and its 400+ acre research farm
    • Priorities: Supply Ethnic Cultures/Markets (lemongrass, bittermelon, fresh water shrimp, goat meat, etc.), Teach Food Preparation Skills, Extend Season with High Tunnels, a Viable Berry Industry, Safe Food (including packaging and labeling), Initiate Farmers’ Markets (and sales through retail chains),  Agritourism,  Virginia Wine.

Approval of May 7 Meeting Minutes: Eric

  • Minutes Reviewed and Approved

Reports:

  • Katherine: No Treasury to report.
  • Leeann: Meeting with Ag. Sec. Haymore: Executive Committee needs to be prepared in mid-August to meet for about 30 minutes on short notice due to his full schedule. We will emphasize how we are a resource and can support the Sec’s and Gov’s goals: jobs, food access, food security.
    • Melvin: Note that Agritourism Councils will be meeting around the state, i.e. Isle of Wightis Aug. 18 and may be a way to connect with Matt Conrad, Deputy Sec. or Sandy Adams, Dep Commissioner, who may attend.  Check Agritourism Council website.
  • Spencer: is working on setting up a Meeting with Sec. of Health Hazel.   Other states have set up a partnership among the Ag., Health, and Education Depts. for a state-wide food system assessment.   May get all of them out for the kickoff Farm to School Day in the fall, either in one location or 3 different ones with press coverage. 
  • Eric: Need to have one of our Board connect with Sec. of Ed. Robinson.  Who is willing to take this?  If noone responds, Chris can pick it up.
  • Chris and Heidi: Silver Diner Report:
    • Silver Diner still on board to invest $30,000 for the Fall Farm to School Day, which amounts to about $375 per school in the defined 5 mile radius areas surrounding their restaurants.
    • Also, retail customer cards which designate a percentage of revenue spent on heart-healthy menu items to go to school principals/food service directors for exercise programs or for promoting delicious foods that alleviate the obesity epidemic. This amount is projected at $150,000-300,000 over one year.
    • They are looking for 80 schools to be registered over the summer.
    • Potential Project: For the many schools not impacted by proximity to a Silver Diner, need a restaurant program to benefit Farm to School week where Restaurants agree to give 10% of their revenue.  Also, Foundation for Healthy Youth (former Va.Tobacco Settlement  Fdn.) may be a good source for funding: note that this year’s GA requested they use $1,000,000 on community/local level to build local coalitions for childhood obesity work.  There are only 6 in the state (coalitions for childhood obesity).  Note that these would be aligned with Mrs. McDonald’s program.
    • Matt has a press release for the SD program: promotes us (the Council),  emphasizes  in general their use of local/ and sustainable agriculture, not just as a passion but as an economic development tool.
    • Melvin: asked for assurance of their use of local foods to avoid “greenwashing” by the use of “if available”; he would like the Corp., even though vetted and with good intentions to at least check with the Dept of Ag  (in Va.Beach) to ask whether a food item is available locally. They may not know of such resources as the Dept of Ag. Also, Virginiadoesn’t always have the infrastructure to provide all of what’s needed within state lines or within certain areas. Meanwhile the Council can be a resource re: infrastructure.  It was suggested that we write to Silver Dollar and thank them for what they’ve done and list resources for them that help them stay truly local and sustainable, thus helping educate them as part of our role.  WHO?
    • Strategic Plan Report: postponed till Mike Foreman present

Action Summary: Eric

  • We should all keep checking the Actions listed as previously sent. Eric emphasized one: Need Assessment Data Re:  Jobs– a baseline, a definition. Point persons are Spencer as Chair, Charles, Don, Mike Foreman, and added Melvin. Should include jobs on farms, for greenhouses, for added infrastructure, but it was determined that greater prep time in food services doesn’t impact jobs significantly.

MOTION by Katherine Smith that the Point Persons listed above put together a skeleton assessment around which facts they know from available data and from experience, using the California model handout from last meeting to determine jobs created, including by possible cross training to increase pay level, or by extending the season, or by new small farms.  Seconded by Judy B.  Motion carried.

Chris:  Need to meet with Foundation for Healthy Youth re grant funds. C. Kihn and J Mansour are willing to advocate for us to7-8 Health Conservation Foundations for $35000-$50,000; may take 90,000-100,000.

After aggregating data, we will develop an Action/Legislative Guide.   Note: have sent out 150 letters to legislators; so far, one reply.

Summary of logistical/food distribution platforms and initiatives: Matt

 

  • Our Strategic Plan includes promoting aggregation for families and especially for institutions with big buying power.
  • Matt provided a great handout, listing all currently operating aggregating enterprises. This will be a good resource on our website, expanded ongoing.
  • Discussed: What are the gaps?  What regions don’t have any? What will the Council do with the gaps?  Provide existing models.  Use maps on our website as a source of info for aggregators/distributors.  Keep in mind focusing on where the least access is and work that angle too (Vermont).   Also, Heidi and VCE’s Jonah are working on a map for obesity versus access to healthy food.
  • Question raised: What is the Council’s role in interacting with each individual business versus supporting/helping coordinate all of them collectively. Katherine: “A partnership like the Council has access to various systems that can do the crunching better than a single agency.”  Don: “We can determine who’s out there, doing what, where local food available, and who doesn’t have access, as well as where more production and where more processing needed.”
  • Fidelis: reminder of the grants for EBT use for purchase of fruits and vegetables at Farmers’ Markets now available for low access areas.
    • Note: There are 192 Farmers’ Markets inVirginia: 16 of them welcome EBT cards. Here’s a clear metric for the Council to measure.
    • Note: USDA has now an available Guide for how to do this

MOTION: Katherine Smith: Name Matt Benson as our Information Officer to receive and provide on our website a maintained clearinghouse and maps of these kinds of data: access, EBT, aggregating enterprises, need for infrastructure, need for production, and any others related to our mission. (Note: not to duplicate PEC or BFBL but to “cross-pollinate”.)

Seconded by Chris, and motion carried. Congratulations, Matt.

Update by Molly Harris: FoodRoutes Annual National Gathering of Chapters, Va Beach Resort

  • The Council is named as a sponsor and will help host a reception ( heavy hors d’oeurves, locally sourced via Chef John) for 150-200 expected opening day September 15, as well as hold our Board meeting from 11:00 to 2:00.

PRESENTATIONS:

Molly Harris:  Lulu Foods and Fall Line Foods

  • Lulus is the computer software program for homes, institutions, schools, and services several hubs; recently revamped for improved logistics to allow producers to send their applications to their local hubs or other hubs. Currently providing this software to Montana.
  • No minimum or maximum for producers
  • Farmers’ sales are all direct; no middle man, same as a Farmers’ Market; products are ordered on the website and paid for in advance; farmers set prices.
  • Farmers collaborate delivery to Richmond; 10 drop sites.
  • Collaboration has increased a social network among farmers; even with occasional potlucks; this connection had not existed before.

Theresa Nartea: ETHNIC MARKETS (see powerpoint handout)

  • A celebratory role for Farmers’ Markets, know holidays and what foods are needed.
  • A novel marketing niche that is ignored by competition

Creates a loyal customer base.

Dr. Stephen Pau: RESEARCH PROJECTS ON FOOD SAFETY

  • Research includes impact of wild birds on food safety and farm hygiene, how affected by feeding practices; sanitization; soybeans and microbial profit in edamame; raw preducts sold through  internet marketing analyzed for contamination; food spoilage prevention; questions re ozone produce washers for preparation and serving; safety of non-kneaded bread.

FARM TOUR,  Dr. Hairston as Tour Guide/Host:

  • Informative and interesting tour with several stops; pointed out their use of recycled tire forms molded into pots (100) as one large single unit, which uses sterile soil so no disease, no weeds, with weight making it impervious to wind; could be used anywhere, even on a rooftop.

Dr. Nerrie:  VSU’s Aquaculture Program

  • 57  ponds of channel catfish, hybrid striped bass, rainbow trout, and freshwater shrimp
  • Provides leadership and technical expertise to help Virginiaproducers of this rapidly expanding and market-driven industry.
  • Addresses sustainability, water quality, nutrition, economics, regulatory concerns, safety, and technologies to help agents/farmers with these systems.

Dr. RAFIE and ANDY HANKINS:    Hoop houses, berries, and tropical fruits, etc.

WANDA JOHNSON:  A very refreshing cold ginger drink and a culinary demonstration and partaking of  fresh tomato/cilantro salsa, with food wisdom added all along.

Fish hospital, and tour of amazing aquaculture processing equipment.

NOTE:   TAKE HOME PRODUCE BAGS WERE DISTRIBUTED TO BOARD MEMBERS, FILLED WITH GLORIOUS EGGPLANTS, PEPPERS, TOMATOES, MELONS, RASPBERRIES, CUCUMBERS, ETC.  EXTRA BAGS DONATED TO JABA. 

VSU HAS RAISED THE “HOSTING” BAR WAY HIGH.  OFFICIAL THANK YOU SENT FROM THE BOARD.

NEXT MEETING: SEPT 15, 11-2, VIRGINIA BEACH RESORT.

Respectfully submitted, Lynda Fanning
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
September 15, 2010

VIRGINIA FOOD SYSTEM COUNCIL
9th Meeting Minutes, Sept 15, 2010
 10:45 AM – 2:00 PM
Virginia Beach Resort Hotel, Virginia Beach, VA.

ATTENDEES:
Eric Bendfeldt, VCE, Facilitator
Chris Carpenter, W&L Dining, Co-Facilitator
Melvin Atkinson, Va. Beach Department of Agricultural Development
Judy Berger, JABA
Lynda Fanning, VDA, Recorder
Rick Felker, Farmer
Charles Green, VDACS
Molly Harris, RAFSC
Leslie Van Horn, Federation of Va.Food Banks
Welcome, Brief Introductions, and Approval of Minutes: Eric

  • A special welcome to Leslie Van Horn of the Va Federation of Food Banks and a special thanks to Molly and Melvin for coordinating with the chef: the magnificent and 90% Local food for the meeting and for our joint Opening Reception with the BFBL Gathering.
  • Minutes approved with spelling changes and with clarity re: communication with and resources given to Silver Diner by Melvin and Chris to promote their connection with local food sources.
    • Note: Eric will draft a thank you note to SD with a list of BFBL’s in their store areas.
    • Rick suggested we make a packet of info to give to restaurants, maybe house it in the Education Committee.

Treasurer’s Report

  •  No report due to lack of treasure. 
  • Discussion: We are now keeping track of past and ongoing expenses in the hope that grant monies can cover what individual Directors have contributed, i.e. Chris, who’s contributed a very hefty amount.    Most recent is the cost of the beautiful Va. Food System Council banner…displayed for the first time with the cost currently covered by VCE but will be listed as an owed expense.

Updates on Activities Around the State:

  • Leslie, for Federation of Food Bank:
    • Due to unemployment, there has been a significant increase in use of services: 20-40% of Virginians are now using Food Bank Services.   The Federation has just received their 2nd  $ allotment from State; they are having to purchase more and more food.  As well, what was originally a mostly canned food service now includes refrigerated and frozen items.  Leslie coordinates the products going from one food bank to another, both in and out of state. She works on keeping all within the state as well as on efficient use of truck trips to haul to and from each agency per its particular needs.
    • Leslie met with Sec. of Health Hazel in July; he strongly supports use of local especially for food that the food bank purchases. 100% of the State $ is for purchase of food, half from Va.suppliers and half from Feeding America (formerly 2nd Harvest).
    • They have had a pro bono lobbyist for the Federation for a sixth year, and it is now in fact in the budget.
    • Responding to an offer from WalMart the Federation has applied for a $200,000 grant to acquire food, and the aim is to keep purchases in Va. and use fresh, even though a short shelf life.  (Note that a trend in Corp. giving is to instigate grant applications or provide leeway for use…as with Kraft who gave $, saying you figure out how to use it.)
    • In the next 5-10 years, plan is to use Mobile Pantries that are set up to haul canned, fresh, and frozen items.
    • Working with VCE to teach food preparation to member Food Bank agencies who in turn teach their clients.
    • Judy Berger noted that JABA’s current grant covered a display fridge for the Charlottesville Food Bank.

Melvin for Va. Beach Agriculture Development Office

  • Farmer’s Market going well; just completed 18 weeks of markets at TownCenter; held event combining social/wine and the local food focus.  Had Phyllis Wilson, writer (latest book: Eating Local in Virginia).
  • Have a Kitchen Garden that supplies the Food Bank of Hampton Roads.
  • Held a Farm to Table Feast using several restaurants and highlighting the farmers on the menu.
  • Planning two Tour Packages to visit farms and sample foods: A one-day tour to visit Farmers’ Markets and Organic Store for samples.  And a Feast Tour or Culinary Tour, 2-3 days featuring several farms and include a fundraiser Va. Feast.
  • A Harvest Fair Oct. 9.
  •  TheVa.Beach Ag Development officers/individuals have put up $ to be used toward agribusiness development in several counties, working with VDACS to learn what all is going on in these localities.
  • Molly Harris, for RAFSC
    • The Richmond Area Food System Council, originally formed to initiate BFBL , has moved that project over to the Center for Rural Culture. The Council, very diverse, has grown in numbers, now focuses on inter-relations. 
    • As for contributing to the Food Bank: the online buying program Lulus has “Pounds of Plenty” on their online Farmers’ Market.  Each week they post surpluses of various items, and over the last year and a half they have donated 100’s of #’s of food.
  • Lynda Fanning, for VDA and UVA
    • The Virginia Dietetic Assn has hired a new Lobbyist Richard Grossman to assist in navigating the legislative landscape for our 3 legislative priorities, one of which is a Sustainable Food System in Virginia.
    • The Univ.of Va.has developed an organization called the UVA Food Collaborative among various schools/professors with the purpose of supporting a local/regional food system and collaborating efforts with the community, also increasing UVA’s food system curriculum including the use of Morven Farm (bequeathed to UVA by John Kluge).  Website:  http://www.virginia.edu/foodcollaborative/       Will holding a Public Forum on the UVA grounds on Oct. 7:
    • Held a Farm Tour on Labor Day called “Meet Yer Eats”; had tours of 18 local farms, many with lectures and How-To sessions.  Sponsored by Market Central, a non-profit supporting the Charlottesville Farmers’ Market.
    • A series of 4 “Meet the Farmer TV” segments on the use of local foods at UVAHospital.
    • An all day Heritage Festival atMonticellofeaturing many local food/food system presentations and demonstrations.
  • Charles Green for VDACS
    • Nov. 8-12 is Farm to School Week.  There is a state-wide template for a press release that can be customized to the local area and its VCE, School Superintendent, and/or local farmers. The Secretaries of Ag and Education will link to persons in the localities.
    • Choose the CommonwealthCampaign.  The recent letter from Gov. McDonnell that urged businesses to purchase and use local foods and wines for events has resulted in overwhelming responses not only thanking him for this gesture but adding further useful information.  The Gov. has instigated a new website to share these ideas/info for all to benefit from.
    • Rick Felker for Mattawoman Farm
      • From the real farm perspective, reports an explosion in demand for local/organic, as well as a noticeably high level of consumer knowledge re organic as well as awareness of seasonality. In spite of drought has had highly productive season (healthy organic soil) and is adding additional acreage to meet the high demand; “everyone wants local product.”  .
      • Sees one of the Council’s role as re-invigorating our original committees or forming new committees to focus our efforts; also individual Directors out there working as resources ( i.e., Rick and Melvin  for BFBL in Hampton Rds)
      • Judy Berger for JABA
        •  Has the How to Guide and DVD as a template for institutions to buy local; currently operating EBT in the C’ville Farmers’ Markets; distribution/sales of local foods via the Boys and Girls Club; and a gleaning program.
        • Has applied for USDA grant for 75,000 for flash freezing; Plan is to make frozen meals from local foods to use for JABA instead of purchasing from Fla.  May work with Appalachian Sustainable Dev. on the flash freezing project because it already has a grant from Blue Moon and could partner if JABA’s new grant comes through.  Also a cannery in the works for the C’ville area or possibly Culpeper (Janet Bearden and Allie Hill www.Info@BountifulBlueRidgeCannery.com  Will check out current Freezing capacity at JMU.
        • Question raised whether there is enough food produced to support processing/preserving infrastructure… Chris: the answer is build the soil to produce massive food.  A big picture role of the Council is to lay out the map overlay of Virginia that shows overall storage/preservation in the event of drought/disaster affecting the state, as one layer of a complete food system.
        • Will work toward a local Food Policy Council in C’ville.
      • Chris Carpenter
        • Washington and Lee spent $138,000on local foods in the County, and $286,000 in the Food Shed; out of a $1.8 million food budget, translating to 18-19%.  But the amount used for the main dining services is more nearly 35%.  Next year the goal is $500,000.  There is much student engagement and desire for very clear signage.
        • For Lexington/Rockbridge Grows, went to zoning Board for a cannery.
        • Via Campus Kitchens , donated 300# to Food Bank.
        • Upcoming tour toVermontre mobile flash freeze.
        • Truck is on the ground serving DC Kitchen from the Produce Auction nearHarrisonburg.  Feeds 50,000 students/day.
        • Modified Gap, being  worked on by Robin Robbins? Coordinator for Appalachian Sustainable Dev.  (Denise Barrett took over for Anthony.)
      • Eric Bendfeldt
  • Vermonttrip toGreenMountainCollegere: flash freezing/meat processing infrastructure needed to diversify our markets.  Many are at capacity so if producers want direct marketing need to address how to work with existing processors to meet the demand.
  • EBT now in Harrisonburg Farmer’s Mkt. (now 16 in the state, out of a total of 192).TonyWashingtongot funding to do additional ones.  Need an update on the overall status. We have a Va. Direct Marketers Association but don’t have a Farmers’ Market Association; however, info could be found at VDACS. Would be good to have a list ofVirginia’s Farmers’ Market Managers.
  • Lunch! 95% local and commensurate flavor:
    • Soup with Cullipher Farm mushrooms, squash
    • FRESH Puppy Drum Fillets
    • Cullipher Farm purple potatoes,
    • Henley Farm corn and lima beans
    • Local bakery rolls
    • THANKS TO MOLLY AND MELVIN for coordinating this feast!

Eric: Meeting with Del. Scott, and Farm to Table Plan

  • Eric, Molly, Katherine met with Del Scott:  Discussed the Iowa State  Farm to Table Plan and that VCE via the Va Tech Ag and Life Sciences Dept  should lead  in cooperation with the Council to develop a local farm plan for Virginia.
    •  Grant Funding: Va.Tech had put out a grant proposal which if funded would be 25-50,000 .  Eric formed a multi-disciplinary team and submitted the grant application to Va. Tech.  Will hear by Oct. 1, and grant would last through June.  The Council would present as the driving/synergizing force, networking, collaborating, building partnerships, and connecting people in regions and multi-county areas.
    • Further Support: Theresa Nartea of the NC Farm to Fork report will provide 5% of her time and $5000;  C. Kihn and J. Mansour also will help procure funds. Eric has been encouraged by Gordon Walker and Blue Moon re  surveys of what’s currently going on in the state and determining the obstacles/challenges (such as processing infrastructure).  Johah Fogel has a useful tool called Food System Explorer. Ken Meter’s work and other organizations will also help. Eric will pull together writing teams and work teams for surveys and forums.
    • Forums: Two planned at Va Tech and Va State, for about 75 people per forum, with focus on facilitating and listening, looking for linkages, showing a regional network that feeds from the bottom up.

Next Meetings

  • November’s meeting will be at Virginia Tech, arranged by Matt.
  • January’s meeting will be hosted by VDACS arranged by Charles at their building in Richmond, and hopes to host the Secretary of Ag and others
    • For that meeting we need to articulate what the Council wants, what is our specific question or what specific thing do we want to impart.
    • Example:  We are developing a Farm to Table Plan and here is the outline of our process which parallels efforts of your dept as well as those of Gov. McDonnell; we would like you or one of your agencies to support us by serving as a guide/resource and we will provide you with our results and recommendations.

Meeting adjourned at 2 pm.

Respectfully Submitted, Lynda Fanning

Opening Reception for the National Gathering of Buy Fresh Buy Local, cohosted by the Council:
Several stations of incredible local food, lots of handouts, and good camaderie by like-minded, committed supporters of the local food movement, with many states represented. Many thanks to Molly, Melvin, and the Chef for a great feast.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________

November 17, 2010

VIRGINIA FOOD SYSTEM COUNCIL
10th Meeting Minutes, November 17, 2010
 9:45 AM – 2:30 PM
Peggy Lee Hahn Garden Pavillion
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.ATTENDEES:
Eric Bendfeldt, VCE, Facilitator
Chris Carpenter, W&L Dining, Co-Facilitator
Spencer Neale,Va.Farm Bureau
Matt Benson, PhD candidate, Va. Tech CALS
Denise Barrett, Sustainability/ASD
Judy Berger, JABA
Lynda Fanning, VDA, Recorder
Rick Felker, Farmer
Charles Green, VDACS
Leslie Van Horn, Federation ofVa.Food BanksGuests from CALS:

  • Susan Clark, Assoc. Professor, Human Nutrition and Foods ( Civic Agriculture and Food Systems Minor, CAFS)
  • Kimberly Niewolny, Asst. Prof., Department of Agricultural and Extension Education, (CAFS, beginning farmer programs)
  • Joseph Eifert, Assoc. Prof., Dept of Food Science and Technology
  • Steve Hodges, Prof. and Head of Soil and Crop Environmental Sciences
  • Jonah Fogel, VCE Community Viability
  • Lisa Hightower, Grad Student, Ag. Education Extension
  • Pete Zeigler, Research Epidemiologist

Guests from the public,Charlottesville,Va.:

  • Joanie Freeman
  • Dave Redding

Pre-meeting and Meeting Handouts:

other_reports.pdf
Action Summary 3.doc
October 11 PPT Presentation.pdf

Welcome, Brief Introductions, and Approval of Sept. 15 Minutes: Eric

  • Minutes approved with minor changes; titles/spelling of names.

Treasurer’s Report: Katherine

  • Balance-free with service fee of $10. Directors continue to volunteer for operation expenses with record-keeping for eventual funding.

Strategic Plan

  • Plan to have a facilitator (hopefully Tanya Dencla Cobb) at the March BOD meeting to rework/reevaluate the current Strategic Plan, specifying all indicators of success and strengths to date, and then to further reevaluate at least every two years.  Will use the Plan to guide actions.

Legislative Talking Points Sheet

  • The Va. Food System Council could use this sheet to take a stand on the many things going on at the federal level (DEQ, Chesapeake Bay, etc.)
  • May provide to Virginia’s First Lady, Maureen McDonell, whose own agenda meshes well with the Council’s; she attended a Silver Diner event in Va. Beach, holding a Luncheon on 12/2 re: Childhood Obesity.  She also recognizes heroes in her FLITE Foundation’s Opportunity Hall Of Fame Awards program.  Judy will investigate setting up a meeting.
  • Use our Talking Points Sheet to appeal for funds from the Va. Foundation for Healthy Youth’s Marty Kilgore.
  • Per Spencer/ Rick: Best talking points and best way to assist all above efforts is our Statewide Farm to Fork Plan.  Need to assess to get a blueprint and then  choose specific layers to measure and list those on the Talking Points Sheet.
  • Also need to keep track of and highlight our programs: Farm to School week, Silver Diner, things that operate and grow independently from the Council.
    • Farm to School: grew significantly this year: last year in Va.Beachonly 8 participating schools; this year the entire School System.
    • Harrisonburghad Del. Eric Smith and media coverage.
    • Since the US Congress just passed a Resolution making October Farm to School Month, we need to go back to Ed Scott and Catherine Digiglio-Grimes, Dept of Ed. to allign our date (November) with theirs.  Also more foods are available in Oct.
    • Kids played “local foods bingo,” with home room parties as rewards.
    • Good attendance from school food purchasers at “Field to Fork” to connect with producers.
    • Good coverage in the media: Wash. Times and Post, as well as local papers. Forty different local foods were served across Va.schools.
    • Last year our Director representing School Food, Andrea Early, spent $48 K in her district on locally sourced foods; this year in just Nov. purchases are already at $34 K.  Last year purchased 35 K #’s of beef; this year on track to buy 120 K #’s.
    • Per Charles, two different and important interests: jobs and protected acres may be positively affected by increasing local school food.
  • The Va.  Food System Assessment/Plan and Katherine’s “Shame Factor” For the ultimate data report, will use overlaying maps for each indicator for which we gather data, showing strength of each one across the state, i.e., use of EBT in Farmers’ Markets; show the gaps/weaknesses by colors across the state to present to legislators, leading them to visually compare their district with others for either “shame” (gaps) or “pride.”  Update continually, and keep on website to get traffic to our site.
    • Chris discussed goals of the state-funded higher education institutions…for example, projecting in 5 year to reach 15% of purchases will be local or some similar metric.  Will reveal the shame/pride factors in each individual institution’s progress toward percentage goals when compared to other similar institutions.
  • Discussion of  Grant for Va. Farm-to-Table Assessment and Plan/Joined by Virginia Tech faculty who are part of the Va. Food System Research and Extension Intiative Project team
    • The Executive. Committee (EC) met with Del. Ed Scott who encouraged that an internal REQ for proposals come out of the Collegeof Agricultureand Live Sciences (CALS).  A 35 K grant awarded to partner with the Council.
    • Council also came up with in-kind amounts: VSU’s T. Nartea’s time (5%), $5000 for publication with graphic design from VSU and VCE to send to legislators, as well as $14,000 from Harvest Foundation and Agua Fund working with Extension to do assessment in Martinsville/Henry county area and  the Shenandoah 8 county area.
    • Timeline:  June 30 to compile and finish.
    •  Numerous Listening Sessions will be held across the state.
    • Forums: To make sure we are asking the right questions, will hold two Working Sessions or Forums in Feb. and March:Blacksburg andPetersburg, tentatively.
    • Survey Instruments:  Need to strategically tie the Survey Tool we use with the Forums (similar to the Farmer Surveys that were used by Iowa’s Leopold Center and by Cent. Vermont Public survey Iowa Local Food and Farm PLan.pdf).    Anthony Flaccovento has also used such a survey. Can be designed to funnel data into short, mid, long-term plans and can be stratified where the respondent answers the sections he/she is knowledgeable about, but may skip others.   Jonah Fogel has used a  SARE grant GPS system tool with 170 different layers including such even health indicators and SNAP benefit distributions.  Would need an editor to add new data, such as that from Wholesome Wave.
    • Use of National Ag State Data with production by sector may be helpful but also data is incomplete, i.e., where/how food grown, and farmer cash transactions not fully reflected in Farmer income tax returns. Farmer’s Market managers’ total sales may be a good source.
    •  Piedmont Environmental Council’s Don L offered help and letters of support for any grant efforts.
    • Sites:  Primary objective is Public Involvement, so sites will beVa.Tech, and  likely UVA atFalls Church. Need to determine which organizations need to be involved to cover the entire Food System/Ag chain, from production to consumption and waste. Per Chris there are 800 food organizations inVa., some emerging, some entrenched. TheIowa survey used all organizations needed to get the questions answered; some organizations may provide host sites, spread across state.
    • Urban concerns:RichmondCityis interested in designing its own Food Plan.
    • CALS and Council team will write 10-12 issues of the Food System to guide the data collection and assessment process, to get more involvement, and to share with legislators.
    •  Overall these data collections will be a springboard to future bigger grant applications.
    • Training/education  in communities will be an important part of this assessment/grant effort, especially via Extension agents.

Lunch Sandwiches/Salads graciously provided by VCE Community Viability (Mat Benson and Brian Calhoun).

NOTE: ANNUAL MEETING DATE CHANGE to January 28, 9:45, Richmond, at the offices of Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Thanks, Charles.

Executive Committee to meet/conference call:  Membership issues in preparation for the Annual Meeting:

  • Review By-Laws re: Directors’ involvement/attendance/length of terms/ total number of Directors, Organizations represented and Organizations’ expressed role and support of Director attendance/ Alternates and Alternate attendance, etc.
    • Katherine and Lynda to compose update letter to Directors enumerating the Council’s accomplishments and outlining membership commitment issues.
    •  Note: beginning in March BOD meetings will be held in the most central location, Charlottesville, in order to maximize attendance. Location TBD.

Eric’s Discussions with Blue Moon Fund’s Stefan Jirka

  • Due to their interest in the Farm to Table Assessment and Plan, may help to fund a Secretariat. 
  • As is the Leopold Center, Blue Moon is interested in funds for  “regranting” seed money to local food system councils, at least enough to set goals and start.  Spencer: would require specific criteria as at Leopold with a 2 page document and Don L: may need to wait till Farm to Table is complete to know where best to put regrants.

Ideas for Council Projects

  •  Don L:  A Virginia Legal Guide to Farming, as inMaine andNew York, to answer all legal process questions, a sort of directory and “everything you need to know” including sample leases, sample business plans, estate planning, processing/value-added how-to’s, sales, etc.
  • Workshops for Beginning Farmers: connecting Farmers who want to lease with landowners who have easements, a sort of speed-dating.  As of Dec.1 funding for easements is drying up.  Goal has been $400,000 per year.  Chris: what was a $4 million stash for purchase of development rights has gone down to $100 K.

Legislative Opportunities: Chris on Higher Education, and other

  • Procurement Law sponsored by Ed Scott, assisted by Chris Carpenter for data.
    • Example: at a state funded college or university, Aramark as a contracted Food Service Co. allows 3-5% leeway in procuring local food.  Beyond 5 % they must use a State credit card. JMU, UVA and Tech use this more.  Chris is working with the Purchasing Directors of these schools toward increasing their allowed local purchases, a $500,000,000 market.
    • The DGS (Division of Gov. Services) per Charles G had a problem with this; he will check on it.
  • Don L brought up the loss and potential further loss of VCE personnel on the ground, causing farmers to go farther to get to an agent.  Need legislation to increase funding to Ext. Agents, the primary contact for local food issues.
    • Per Spencer, one agent per County now instead of 2-3, unless the county fills in or per Don L, PEC may fund as much as 75% of a County agent’s salary.
    • Per Katherine, if no Rockbridge VCE agent is available, and farmers are expected to use Va. Tech, how will Tech beef up their own staff to handle these needs?  Need to appeal to Dean Alan Grant at Va. Tech.  Should individual members of the Council do this or the Council as a group?

Closing points of interest:

    • Rick F. noted our original crafting of the Council’s Mission Statement which omitted the term “Sustainable” to promote inclusiveness of all farming, and yet now the other states around us freely use the term as well as visitors, consumers, conferences and farmers….noting that the “world is moving faster” since we took our first steps.
    • Leslie Van Horn of the Federation of Food Banks reported their $200,000 grant application to Walmart for fresh produce for food banks…or 1 million #’s of produce, has in fact been funded.

Adjournment at 2:30 pm.

Respectively submitted by Lynda Fanning, Secretary