The Virginia Food System Council is a Board of 24 volunteer Directors, representing all aspects of our food system from local producers and consumers, social justice and environmental non-profit organizations, to dietitians and statewide organizations. We formally began working to strengthen Virginia’s local and regional food systems in late 2007.
The Virginia Food System Council’s mission is to work 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. Specifically included in our mission are the following:
- To address and strengthen Virginia’s food system in a comprehensive, system-wide and holistic manner by bringing together a wide variety of organizations and interests to examine and identify opportunities for improving the food system for all Virginians.
- To develop education, policy recommendations, and implementation strategies to improve the availability and accessibility of healthy, nutritious food for all Virginians.
- To partner with and build the capacity of agencies, organizations, individuals and communities to address local, regional, and state food and agriculture issues that relate to food availability and accessibility.
- To educate and communicate to the public and key decision-makers the relationship of the food system to health, economic development, natural resources, and social well-being.
- To encourage and create stronger links between farmers and consumers through efficient processing, storage, distribution, marketing, and education systems.
- To assist and promote the development of local enterprises and business entities that support community-based food production and consumption.
- To be a communications channel for and with existing local and regional food work groups or councils.
What is a food system?
A community 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. A community food system can refer to a relatively small area, such as a neighborhood, or progressively larger areas – towns, cities, counties, regions, or bioregions. The concept of community food systems is sometimes used interchangeably with “local” or “regional” food systems, but by including the word “community” there is an emphasis on strengthening existing (or developing new) relationships among all components of the food system.