The recent Virginia Farm to School Conference was held in Charlottesville, Virginia, and was a great success! This conference was a result of a USDA Farm to School conference grant that was awarded to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Virginia Cooperative Extension, Farm Bureau, The Department of Education, and others worked with VDACS to organize and host the conference, which had over 160 participants. Dean Jewel Hairston, First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe, and Todd Haymore were some of the distinguished speakers.
What was most compelling was the role local Extension clearly plays in the work of the Virginia Farm to School Program. Not only were there several agents and specialists in attendance, but Extension agents were routinely recognized in many of the breakout sessions led by schools, farmers, and non-profit organizations. Over and over again, ANR, 4-H, and FCS agents were specifically acknowledged for their role in supporting either the “farm” or “school” aspects of this state-wide programming: youth garden education, nutrition education, food safety, food procurement/distribution, and food diversion were just some examples of program work the speakers and groups recognized.
For more information, check out this brief news article that highlights some of the event and Extension’s role.