Plan Information

TermDatabase entry
Plan RegionVirginia
Publication Date2011
PDF attachmentView Full Report
Entry reviewed by original authorYes
Plan TitleVirginia Farm to Table: Healthy Farms and Healthy Food for the Common Wealth and Common Good
Author(s)Virginia Farm to Table Team, edited by E.S. Bendfeldt, C. Tyler-Mackey, M. Benson, L. Hightower, and K. Niewolny. 
Virginia Cooperative Extension (Virginia Tech/VSU), in conjunction with Virginia Food System Council and University of Virginia.
Author Type Network; University
Region Type State
Funding Sources State University; Foundations; State Government ; Non-profit organizations/entities
FundersFunding and support are accredited to: Virginia Tech College of Agricultural and Life Sciences’ Internal Integrated Competitive Grants Program, Virginia State University, Virginia Foundation for Agricultural Innovation and Rural Sustainability (VA FAIRS), Virginia Food System Council, University of Virginia Institute for Environmental Negotiation, Blue Moon Fund, Shenandoah Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council, Shenandoah Valley Buy Fresh Buy Local, Augusta County Farm Bureau, and USDA Risk Management Agency.
Total Project BudgetThe project received an internal grant for $35,000 from Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. 
Additional funds and in-kind support from private foundations (see above) added an additional $40 – $45,000.
Virginia State University contributed resources for facilitation, additional listening sessions, and publishing of 700 copies of the plan for legislators and other stakeholders. 
Total funding (not including people’s time or added resources) came to $75,000 — $80,000.
Prior to starting the effort, the Virginia Farm to Table learned that thorough state plans required about $80,000 to $100,000 to complete.
Plan GoalsTo strengthen VA’s local food system and economic future by informing and integrating assessment, education, development or programs and infrastructure, policy, and funding recommendations. The goals directly address: 1) local regional farm & food markets, 2) agricultural economic development, 3) community viability, 4) food access, nutrition, health. 
Additionally, the overall objective of the plan is to “educate and communicate to the public, the food systems stakeholders, and to key decision-makers a sustainable food system’s impact on economic development, health, natural resources and social well-being” (p. VI). 
Lastly, two key tenets of the Plan are: “1. Everyone should be educated about the social, economic and environmental importance of Virginia’s food system, and 2. Quality food should be affordable and accessible to everyone in Virginia regardless of their economic means” (p. 4).
Intended AudienceGeneral public, food systems stakeholders, and key decision-makers involved in sculpting Virginia’s food system.
Plan Recommendation Structure38 recommendations across 5 broad categories of objectives, which are outlined as:
1. Business and Production Management2. Market Development3. Food System Planning, Management and Policy4. Food Security, Food Safety, Diet and Health5. Implementing the Virginia Farm to Table Plan
Catalyst for PlanThis plan builds on the “unprecedented demand for locally and regionally sourced foods in Virginia and across the United States (p. 3).
Creation ProcessOver the course of 15 months, the Virginia Farm to Table Team and the Virginia Food System Council collected input of 1,920+ individuals representing “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” (p. 2). Expertise was collected via “summits, forums, listening sessions, an online survey, and focus group meetings” (p. 2) which occurred over the course of 15 months, and were distilled into the 38 farm to table recommendations.
Once information was distilled, the 38 recommendations were reviewed at the 2nd Virginia Food Security Summit and collectively, these conversations created the Plan’s top eight recommendations for immediate action and implementation.
Criteria for selecting the “top 3” action steps for each recommendation (38 total): – How powerful is the action likely to be to implementing this strategic priority?- Is the action practical?- Is the action doable in a timeframe of 1- 2 years?- Is the action affordable (people, effort, and money)?Is the action politically feasible?
This plan also created a Logic Model (adapted from North Carolina and Iowa) (p. 5).
Theoretical Framework(s) Employed  Other
Theoretical Framework(s): Additional LiteratureThe creation development was built upon planning precedents set by North Carolina, Vermont, Iowa, Colorado, New Mexico, and research from California on food system impacts and indicators. Additionally, this initiative worked with Crossroads Resource Center to develop regional/multi-county local food and farm studies. Please refer to pages 61 – 62 for a comprehensive list of reports we also studied for the process and read for resonance.
Development Timeline15 months
Implementation StrategyImplementation strategy is articulated within the “top eight recommendations for immediate action and implementation” (p. 2) and within the 5th objective of the plan [format taken from p. 2 of the report]: 
1. The Virginia Food System Council with its participating organizations will shepherd and support the implementation of the Virginia Farm to Table Plan by working closely with universities, agencies, organizations, funders and the private sector. The Council will develop and report on within 9 months: a) a structural framework that is transparent, inclusive, and clear, and that draws connections across sectors; b) a marketing plan that distinguishes between different constituencies and among different purposes: education, policy, and alliances; and c) a business plan that includes a budget, identifies the variety of funders, and targets specific actions to specific funders.
2. Work with the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition, coordinated by Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to recruit, train, and establish the next generation of farmers and farm workers to provide quality food through ecologically sound and profitable production systems.
3. Establish a Virginia food system report card to facilitate assessment and collection of baseline data for monitoring hunger, health, environmental performance, and advancements of Virginia’s food system.
4. Work with the Virginia Food System Council to remove barriers that impede the development and expansion of the production, processing, distribution, and marketing capacity of locally-grown Virginia foods.
5. Work with state and federal agencies and institutions to increase their support for locally-grown Virginia food and farm products.
6. Set measurable goals and track procurement purchases and costs of locally-grown Virginia food and farm products for all state agencies, schools, universities, and other institutions.
7. Establish a comprehensive informational website and networking resource for all Virginia local food system resources and ecologically sound farming practices.
8. Establish a marketing campaign to challenge Virginia households and businesses to buy $10 per week of locally grown Virginia food and farm products year round.
Implementation TimelineThe Virginia Food System Council was charged with shepherding the process forward in collaboration with VT, UVA, and VSU, looking at actionable items over a one to two-year period.
Evaluation StrategyEvaluation strategy can be seen via the recommendation to establish a “report card” to assess indicators of social, economic, and environmental sustainability to assess and gauge progress on a regular basis.
International Development Framework(s)None
Current Plan StatusUnknown
Government Adoption StatusUnknown
Government Adoption Status (Notes)N/A
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