Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia State University, Virginia Cooperative Extension, The University of Virginia, and the Virginia Food System Council with all its participating organizations initiated the Virginia Farm to Table initiative in September 2010. The goal of the initiative was to strengthen Virginia’s food system and economic future through the development of a comprehensive Virginia Farm to
Table Plan that informs and integrates assessment, education, development of programs and infrastructure, policy and funding recommendations to address key issues facing farmers, food entrepreneurs, and communities.
Underlying assumptions and key tenets for the development of the Virginia Farm to Table Plan were that ongoing education of the social, environmental, and economic importance of Virginia’s food system would be critical and that quality food should be affordable and accessible to everyone in Virginia regardless of their economic means. The Plan would directly address 1) local regional farm and food markets 2) agricultural economic development, 3) community viability and environmental stewardship, and 4) food access, nutrition and health.
At each stage of the development of the Virginia Farm to Table Plan, input was sought from a variety of stakeholders and the general public. To develop the recommendations, the Virginia Farm to Table Plan Team drew on the expertise and experience of more than 1,920 individuals across the Commonwealth who work in agriculture, aquaculture, fishing, education, finance, philanthropy, nutrition, community planning and economic development, land and natural resources conservation, public policy, local and state government, academics, and youth development. The Executive Summary outlines the Virginia Farm to Table Plan of Action, key issues facing Virginia’s food system, and how those issues will be addressed through 38 distinct recommendations.