Come to the table summit!

A virtual come to the table summit will be held on April 21st. We will discuss how we align and connect food system programming so that we can be responsive. Come and join us!

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CLRFS District meetings

These meetings will focus heavily on networking and building relationships with local individuals and organizations. Please select and plan to attend the gathering that is being held closest to the community where you live and work.

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About us

Our team structure is open and dynamic. Our current active team members comprise folks from across Virginia Cooperative Extension.

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Community, Local, and Regional Food Systems

Virginia’s 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 such as local waterways; and critical health issues. Demand for local and regionally identified foods continues to grow in Virginia and across the United States. It has also created a myriad of economic and social opportunities for agricultural producers, entrepreneurs, and communities. Food is integral to our communities.

Community, Local, and Regional Food Systems are drivers of economic development, public health, and environmental conservation. An emphasis on centering food systems at the community, local, and regional levels will help to build a more just and sustainable system for all. Local infrastructure and relationships around food allow consumers to be connected to and invested in where their food comes from. In order for these value chains and systems to be viable requires coordination along the value chain. This coordination can take the shape of Market Matchmaking, Technical Assistance, Relationship Building, Innovating Ideas, Resource Prospecting, and Research & Assessment.

Extension Faculty and staff already fulfill many of these roles, but still do not see themselves as value chain coordinators. In order for VCE to address the needs of community, local and regional food systems there needs to be a more holistic and intentional approach to designing programming.