The Virginia Food System Council and partner organizations continue to encourage individuals, families, households and businesses to make the pledge to grow Virginia’s economy through the $10 a Week Challenge to Eat Local Buy Local!
The Virginia Food System Council and its participating organizations would like to encourage you to take the $10 a week challenge to grow Virginia’s economy. The challenge is one way to bolster local markets for Virginia farmers and increase opportunities for households and communities to know their farmer and where their food comes from. Come on Virginia and take the pledge to Eat Local Buy Local!
The dilemma of Virginia’s small to mid-level farmers and lost farmland
For some people, the loss of small to mid-level farms is inevitable because these farms either lack the economy of scale to compete in an ever-changing globally oriented commodity-based market or do not have the flexibility and resources to transition to a more direct-to-consumer market. Indeed, many small and mid-level farms in Virginia, those with annual gross sales of between $50,000 and $500,000, are struggling to survive financially.
There is unprecedented demand for local foods across Virginia and the United States. Presently, the demand appears to be greater than the supply of locally-grown and identified foods. Many groups, organizations, and universities are looking to scale up local foods to meet the demand and strengthen the overall food system so local foods are available and accessible to more people of all socioeconomic levels. In 2009, the University Wisconsin’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems identified 10 keys to scaling up to meet the demand for local food:
With the unprecedented demand for local foods in Virginia and the United States, it can be challenging, and at times overwhelming, to know where to start and how to support local farmers in very practical and tangible ways. One recommendation of the Virginia Farm to Table Plan is to encourage each household in Virginia to spend $10 per week of their total food budget on locally-grown Virginia food and farm products year-round.
|Virginia communities face a multitude of economic, environmental, and social challenges. The prolonged recession has generated a sense of urgency and has triggered discussions about community economic development strategies that will promote short-term economic recovery and long-term economic vitality, community viability, and improved quality of life.|
Welcome to Virginia Farm to Table! I am glad you are here. I hope you find this website and the posts about local food and farm connections, and ways to strengthen Virginia’s food system informative as well as entertaining.
If you have not already become a friend of Virginia Farm to Table on Facebook, I hope you will and help fan the flame for healthy farms and healthy food in and throughout Virginia. As the website and blog develops, we will add more photos to our Flickr gallery for you to enjoy.
6 Things You Need to Know about Virginia Farm to Table
Virginia Farm to Table blog posts will focus on key attributes and principles of the food system: farms, food, health, economics, community and the environment.
1. Although many of us are one or two generations removed from actual farming, farms and working landscapes are critical to a healthy, vibrant and resilient food system and economy. Virginia is fortunate to have a diverse agricultural industry with various sizes and types of farms.
2. Food is fundamental and we all like to eat. Therefore, all Virginians should have access to good healthy, nutritious food necessary to lead healthy active lives at all times.
3. Farming and food are critical to advancing the health of individuals and the population.
4. Food and farming are important economic drivers of local and state commerce. For example, Virginia families and households spend $19 billion annually on food purchases.
5. A strong, diverse food system encourages and fosters community food security and resilience.
6. Sound environmental stewardship that sustains profitable thriving farms and protects farmland is an integral ingredient of economic success and Virginia’s food system moving forward.
Virginia’s overall food system directly impacts the survival and viability of farms and farmland, the economic development of rural and urban communities, the care, restoration and resilience of ecological resources, and critical health issues. Therefore, the promotion of healthy farms and healthy food from the farm to the table can have a positive impact on the common wealth and common good of Virginia’s economy, food system, and communities.