All campaigns and projects are accomplished with generous volunteerism and in-kind contributions. The following is a list of current, future, and past activities and grants:
In order to educate Virginians on the benefits of buying and eating Virginia-grown foods we challenged Virginians to start purchasing $10 a week on local foods. Through the continuous updating of our website and email distribution list, we are educating pledges on the broad-reaching benefits of eating, purchasing and selling foods close to home.
Strengthening Virginia’s Agricultural Economic Vitality and Community Viability From Farm-to-Table: A Virginia Food System Research and Extension Initiative.
In 2010 the Virginia Food System Council in collaboration with the Va. Cooperative Extension, Virginia State University, and various departments at Virginia Tech received a “Virginia Tech Integrated Internal Competitive Grant” through their College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Goals of this Project are:
- To gather baseline food system data via widely distributed surveys to gather data on the needs, gaps, and perceptions of challenges and opportunities for health, community viability, and ecological aims.
- To identify challenges and barriers to Virginia’s local and regional business sector.
- To host two Virginia Farm-to-Table Forums and 4 regional Listening Sessions.
- To recommend short, mid, and long-term strategies to address these barriers.
- To create a resource database with case studies and spotlights
- To publish a Virginia Farm-to-Table Plan for building a robust local/regional business sector
Writing teams have converted the data into a report as the Virginia Farm to Table Plan to be rolled out on December 5-6, 2011 at the 2nd Virginia Food Security in Charlottesville, showcasing the many successes now operating in Virginia since the last Summit. It will launch a move from the research phase to collaborative action.
Summit participants will begin to act on the opportunities and challenges identified in the Farm to Table plan. How will we meet new demand for local foods? How can we support local and regional business development and job creation? How will we protect our farmlands and soils and revitalize rural communities? How can we make safe and healthy food available to all Virginians?
GRANT: Collaborating to Enhance the Resilience of Virginia’s Food System and Ecological Resources
- Grant Activities include:
- Enhancing farm profitability and viability through more successful linkages between food producers and consumers including large-volume markets like schools, universities, hospitals, and other institutions;
- Protecting and restoring natural resources, sustaining vital agricultural communities, and preserving arable farmland as critical foundations of the food supply;
- Developing coherent policies and infrastructure to ensure a broad-based, diverse, competitive food system that serves the needs of all farmers and all communities
- Educating Virginia residents of all income levels about the social, economic, environmental, and health benefits of purchasing locally-grown food.
- Facilitate The Virginia Farm to Table public meetings, and the organizational update of the strategic plan
- Develop a Legal Guide to Farming in collaboration with several state organizations.
- Create and expand the current website to create an all encompassing online resource for all players in the local Virginia food system.
- This BMF grant support VFSC as the organizing host and financial administrator for the 2nd Virginia Food Security Summit, Dec., 2011.
- For further future activities, the Virginia Food System Council will prioritize the Farm to Table Plan. In general, its role is to connect the many aspects of a food system, to educate stakeholders, and to serve as a primary resource/information hub with continuous updating of data maps, especially for such topics as access to healthy foods in all communities.
- Fundraising to support local food infrastructure and the education of policy makers.
- Encourage BMP’s on farmlands
- Continue to pursue activities that support our mission statement.
Contact us with your ideas for future projects!
We’ve held meetings and summits to bring farmers together with those who serve food, we’ve brought local food into schools and we’ve helped educate Virginians about the value of prosperous farms for a prosperous state.
- Establishment of Virginia’s Annual Farm-to-School Week by working with Del. Ed Scott for a Joint Resolution, General Assembly , 2009.
- Co-hosted Washington D.C. School Food Service program and the D.C. Farm-to-School Network for farm visits, school meetings and tours in the Shenandoah Valley.
- Assisted the D.C Farm-to-School Network and the Virginia Farm-to-School Work Group to source and procure local strawberries and romaine and bibb lettuces from the Shenandoah Valley Produce Auction for their June 2010 Strawberries & Salad Greens Festival.
Co-Hosted the Buy Fresh Buy Local National Gathering
9/15/2010, Virginia Beach
Hosted Mr. Gus Schumacher, Executive Director of the Wholesome Wave Foundation in Connecticut
An educational meeting about expanding Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) capabilities and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to more farmers markets across Virginia.
Collaboration with the restaurant chain Silver Diner to develop the Eat Well, Do Well initiative:
Silver Diner will donate a portion of their revenue to support farm-to-school programs in the school districts served by these restaurants. Over $300,000 went into these local food programs over the last year.