Connecting all the supplier and distribution dots for consumers and producers to enjoy the benefits of the farm-to-fork movement can be challenging, but Virginia Cooperative Extension is doing just that in the commonwealth.
“When you think about local foods, a starting point for most people is farmers markets, community supported agriculture programs, or community gardens,” said Eric Bendfeldt, community viability Extension specialist. “We want to try and support other initiatives, like farm-to-school and farm-to-university. We also want small to midsize farmers to get into more retail outlets.”
The Virginia Farm-to-School Week initiative, which started in 2009, is a collaborative effort among Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Virginia Department of Education to increase the amount of fresh and nutritious Virginia-grown products offered in schools. The initiative is a way to promote opportunities for schools and local farmers to work together. It also connects nutrition directors with farmers and the Department of Education.