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#LocalFoodMatters PHOTO CONTEST

 By Joyce Latimer

You are invited to participate in a photo contest celebrating community, local, and regional food systems (CLRFS) In Virginia. The contest is sponsored by the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) CLRFS Program Team.

There are four categories of photo opportunities which include:

  • Freshness – Capture the value, unique freshness, and availability of local foods.
  • Fun – Capture the joy and celebration of local foods.
  • People – Show the diversity of people engaged throughout the local food system.
  • Innovation – Illustrate innovations in growing, processing, marketing, distribution, access, and utilization of local foods.
  • Prizes will be awarded for the overall best photo and the top photo in each category. For Overall Best Photo the prize is a 3-minute professional video of a local foods event of your choice with time and location to be arranged between the winner and Zeke Barlow, CALS Communications. The top photo in each category will receive a swag bag of assorted goodies collected from VCE and our partners.

In addition, the top three (3) photos in each category will be featured in a 2019 Virginia Community, Local, and Regional Food Systems Calendar to be distributed at the 2018 Farm-to-Table Conference; additional honorable mention photos may be included.

Photo submissions will be accepted June 1st through November 2nd from VCE employees and their community partners. Videos or video clips are welcome, but will not be eligible for the contest prizes.

GUIDELINES:

Submissions are open to VCE faculty and their partners in local food systems work. All photos submitted for the contest may be used in VCE and Virginia Tech marketing. All photos must be of events/activities located in Virginia and the submitting person must have the right to share the photo. Photos must be submitted between June 1st and November 2nd, 2018. Each participant may submit up to three (3) images for the contest. However, additional images are welcome.

Images should be of high quality, in focus and of the highest resolution possible, which usually means the original size. Set your camera or phone for the largest file format.

All submissions must include a caption that includes:

  • Name of the photographer
  • The locality (VCE unit and/or location of photo)
  • Names of identifiable people (media releases must be kept by the VCE faculty; clients may defer from having their names used in the caption). For more information on media releases and a media release form, visit https://www.communications.cals.vt.edu/resources/media-release.html.
  • Name/description of the event/activity
  • Two contest tags:
  • the campaign name – #LocalFoodMatters and,
  • the category to which your photo is being submitted using #LocalFoodLooksLike(name of photo category). Category names are Freshness, Fun, People, and Innovations.

Submissions for the photo contest is a 2-step process:

VCE agents are asked to encourage their community partners to participate in VCE photos and to submit their own photos of local foods activities. Photos showing cooperation and collaboration between VCE and community groups are especially encouraged. The attached flier may be shared with community partners to assist them in submitting their photos for the contest.

JUDGING CRITERIA:

For contest consideration, photos must be submitted to both the CLRFS Facebook page and the CLRFS Google drive between June 1 and November 2, 2018. Winners will be notified by November 20th.

Photo scoring will be based on quality, resolution, creativity/originality, fit with program theme and/or category, and overall impact.

NOTES:

Submitted photos will be posted on the Facebook page at our discretion to provide a range of photo topics over any given time. Images will also be shared on the CLRFS Instagram account.

We reserve the right to eliminate images considered inappropriate or not owned by the submitting party, and to change the category of submission of any photo. Images submitted without a complete caption will be disqualified.

Video clips may be submitted to the google drive. Although not part of the contest, we are seeking clips for the creation of videos for promotion and marketing of community, local, and regional food systems. Please submit with the requested caption information.

If you have any problems, contact us on Facebook or email CLRFSPhotoContest@vt.edu.

Norfolk Teens With a Purpose (TWP) Gardening Program

By Chris Epes, Associate Extension Agent – Horticulture, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Norfolk, VA

Think of Norfolk, Virginia and you think of a lot of things – unrelated to nutrition problems. It’s home to the world’s largest naval station. Norfolk is military. Located in the heart of Hampton Roads, Norfolk is one of the most important shipping hubs in the world. Norfolk is blue-collar. Norfolk is as urban as it gets in America.

What outsiders may not know is that Norfolk has its fair share, and more, of the kinds of systemic problems that plague urban communities, in addition to essentially being ground zero for sea-level rise. Norfolk faces many challenges. Violent crime, single-income households and nutrition related disease and mortality rates in Norfolk are well above state averages. Not surprisingly, this goes hand in hand with the prevalence of fast food and convenience store-laden neighborhoods as well as food deserts in the area. Read more.

WEBINAR: Supporting Local Food Councils: A New Professional Development Course

SPEAKERS: Jodee Ellett, Purdue University and Kendra Wills, Michigan State University

January 15, 2018 – 12:00 PM Eastern Time

Jodee Ellett, Local Foods Program Director with Purdue University, and I are launching a new, online professional development course to help Extension and community development colleagues build local food councils. Over 20 experts have contributed to the development of this course, including experts from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. We are so grateful for these contributions and the support of the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development to create this self-paced learning tool. Read more.

The Shop Smart Eat Smart Healthy Food Retail Program is starting in Virginia

By Liza Dobson, Healthy Food Retail Coordinator, Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Family Nutrition Program, Lynchburg

The Family Nutrition Program’s (FNP) (http://blogs.ext.vt.edu/eatsmart-movemore/) mission is to teach limited-resource families and youth to make healthier food choices and become better managers of available food resources for optimal health and growth. Our programs focus on basic nutrition, physical activity, safe food handling, and thrifty food shopping.  FNP Program Assistants conduct educational programming in schools, community centers, foodbanks, farmers markets, community gardens, and numerous other venues, contributing to the reduction of healthcare costs for 148,000 SNAP-eligible Virginians.

While the FNP works to help shape healthy behavior, we also understand why practicing these behaviors is challenging. Many areas across the United States are considered “food deserts” (a term no longer used by the USDA), where some low-income families also have low food-access.  While income and distance from a grocery store are two main factors, we also know that food quality, price, and preparation knowledge are just as important.  All of these factors influence a household’s or community’s “food environment.”  Read more

Virginia’s Family Nutrition Program is designing a comprehensive program around healthy food retail

By Liza Dobson, Healthy Food Retail Coordinator, Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Family Nutrition Program, Lynchburg

The Family Nutrition Program’s (FNP) (http://blogs.ext.vt.edu/eatsmart-movemore/) mission is to teach limited-resource families and youth to make healthier food choices and become better managers of available food resources for optimal health and growth. Our programs focus on basic nutrition, physical activity, safe food handling, and thrifty food shopping.  FNP Program Assistants conduct educational programming in schools, foodbanks, farmers markets, community gardens, and numerous other venues, contributing to the reduction of healthcare costs for 148,000 SNAP-eligible Virginians. Read more.

Food System Thinking at LEAP (Local Environmental Agriculture Project) in Roanoke, VA

By: Maureen McNamara Best, Local Environmental Agriculture Project (LEAP) (www.leapforlocalfood.org)

We all eat. So that means we all understand, value, and think about food, agriculture, and food producers, right?

As a society, our school systems and holidays still nod to our agrarian past. But for most us, our lives are not structured around soil preparation, planting time, harvest schedules, or feeding livestock. And, if at all, we only spend a couple minutes a day thinking about where our food comes—and that time is probably focused on the logistics of purchasing food from a retailer and/or consuming a prepared meal. In a complex, industrialized society— we specialize. And in that sense, the food industry is no different. But at what cost? Read more

Community, Local, and Regional Food Systems: A Reading List

Do you have questions about community, local, and regional food systems? Do you want to have a solid foundation of terms, concepts, perspectives, and potential practices?

Are you an educator involved in community development and change processes? Do you want to better understand localized food systems as a social movement?

Click here to see a compilation of articles and reports that can give you a sound understanding of community, local, and regional food systems. The list contains reports on recent trends in local and regional foods, discussion on the meaning of local foods, a glossary of terms, and how land-grant universities like Virginia Tech and Virginia State University can strengthen community, local and regional food systems.

Food Hubs: A Critical Food System Link

Interest in more durable farm-to-market linkages along the food value chain continues to grow.  A key component for making these market linkages is having accessible points of aggregation and distribution.  Regional food hubs have developed in Virginia and across the country to serve this purpose. Food hubs are a critical food system link and an accessible point for producers, processors, and distributors to retail, wholesale, and institutional markets.

The Local Food Hub in Charlottesville, VA serves as a critical link for regional farmers and businesses in central Virginia.

The US Department of Agriculture defines a regional food hub as a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products primarily from local and regional producers to strengthen their ability to satisfy retail, wholesale, and institutional demand. If you are interested in learning more about regional food hubs, below are some guides and informational reports in the form of an annotated bibliography to get you started. Read more

SNAP Seeds and Seedlings Grow Home Gardens in the Shenandoah Valley

by Liz Kirchner, Virginia SARE Outreach Coordinator and Healthy Food Access Project, Virginia Cooperative Extension Service, Northern District

Home garden food production – even if that means a tomato in a bucket – is widely recognized to contribute to household nutrition and self-reliance. Garden produce strengthens ties between neighbors as those tomatoes are swapped, and maintains traditional foodways as gardening stories, seeds, and cooking skills are shared. However, not everybody realizes that SNAP benefits can be used to purchase seeds and seedlings, a caveat to the 1973 Farm Bill gauged to help people plant gardens. To raise awareness – and home gardens, too – Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Health Food Access program will host a series of seedling planting events with food pantry clients throughout the spring.

We will begin in May, after the frost-free date. The project goal is to send SNAP clients and other food pantry participants home with a planted seedling and a mapped list of nearby SNAP retailers who sell seedlings. Retailers identified using the ArcGIS, Google Maps, and the Buy Fresh Buy Local Guide include Walmart, some Food Lions, independent groceries, and the Staunton, Dayton, Waynesboro, and Harrisonburg Farmers’ Markets. (Continue reading)

Virginia Cooperative Extension partners with Farmacy Garden

girl in garden

Brittney Linkous, 9, of Christiansburg smells Holy Basil at the New River Valley Community Health Center’s Farmacy Garden. In exchange for volunteering, her family harvests vegetables from the garden.

While “take two kale and call me in the morning,” is not exactly the prescription you would receive from a doctor at most health clinics, patients at the New River Valley Community Health Center do indeed receive a prescription to the New River Health District’s Farmacy Garden for doctor’s ordered physical activity and an injection of fresh fruits and vegetables.

The garden, encircled by a white picket fence and located directly behind the center, is a collaboration of Virginia Cooperative Extension, the supplemental nutrition assistance programs’ Women, Infants, and Children program, and the New River Health District.

On a recent Thursday evening community members gathered for a potluck at the garden where Extension agents were on hand for cooking and planting demos.

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