The Virginia Food System Council is a network of agricultural, health, governmental, and commercial organizations that collaborate to strengthen Virginia’s food system at all levels and to increase access to locally and sustainably grown nutritious foods for all Virginians.

General About the Organization/Mission

 Formed in 2007, the Virginia Food System Council is a board of 24 volunteer directors from all aspects of the food system (see full list below in the “Partners” section). This initiative aims to build on the rich agricultural history of Virginia to promote healthy farms and healthy food from farm to consumer table to positively impact common wealth and public health across Virginia. Its mission is to ensure all Virginians have access to healthy, affordable food grown locally through a three-pronged approach:

1. Develop tools that can be used to educate and communicate to the public, the food system stakeholders, and key decision-makers about a sustainable food system’s impact on health, economic development, natural resources, and social well-being

2. Advance the knowledge of how food is produced, distributed, and consumed throughout Virginia’s different regions and communities, and use this knowledge to make connections and identify barriers to improvement.

3. Make policy recommendations and strengthen connections between existing resources and organizations to improve the availability and accessibility of safe, nutrient-rich foods to Virginians in all areas.

Basic Info

Type of Organization



Primary Contact

 Kathi Colen Peck 

540-432-6029 Ext 106

Social Media


 Twitter: @VAFoodCouncil

Issues of Focus

The following are included in the VFSC’s mission as specific issues of focus:

  • Integrate a holistic and comprehensive network of stakeholders to strengthen Virginia’s food system
  • Develop education, policy, and programmatic strategies to increase the availability of fresh, nutritious foods for all Virginians
  • Partner with and build the capacity of organizations, agencies, individuals and communities to engage with issues related to food access and food security at local, regional, and state levels.
  • Educate and communicate with the public about the relationships between the food system and a variety of economical, social, health, and environmental issues.
  • Strengthen channels that connect food producers and consumers
  • Enhance the resources to support small businesses and food entrepreneurs
  • Connect and promote relationships between existing local and regional food councils

History of Organization

The VFSC was established at the statewide Food Security Summit held in Charlottesville on May 11, 2007, and its inaugural meeting was with all 24 volunteer directors on held on March 18, 2009. It was then incorporated as a 501(c)(3) on October 14, 2009.

Programs and Projects 

  • Virginia Farm to Table
    • The plan is a comprehensive education and communication tool to teach the public, policy makers, and food system stakeholders about the positive impacts a sustainable food system can have on economic development, public health, ecological conservation and social cohesion. The plan also offers recommendations to strengthen Virginia’s food system and address key issues facing farmers, food producers, and communities. The Virginia Farm-to-Table plan led to the development of projects such as the $10/week campaign, the Appalachian Foodshed Directory for Southwest Virginia, and statewide Buy Fresh, Buy Local online guides.  
    • More information can be found at
  • $10 a Week Take the Pledge Campaign
    • Encourages Virginians to spend at least $10/week on local food to spur economic growth in Virginia and better connect local food producers and consumers
  • Virginia Urban Agriculture Summit
    • Held April 15-16, 2014
  • Farm to Institution Initiative
    • An education and networking campaign that encourages Virginia institutions across the state to commit to sourcing and serving produce grown in Virginia.
  • Facilitate Development of Regional Food Councils
    • The VFSC moderates a network of Google Groups to encourage communication between food organizations working towards common goals. 
  • Educate Elected Officials
  • Food Security Summit
    • Held December 6, 2011 in Charlottesville. The theme was “Connecting Our Farms, Food, Health, and Environment”
  • Farm-to-School Projects
    • VFSC encourages the sale of Virginia-grown produce to the commonwealth’s public school system
  • Buy Fresh Buy Local
    • Co-hosted the National Gathering on September 15, 2010 at Virginia Beach
  • Silver Diner Eat Well, Do Well
    • VFSC’s partnership with the Silver Diner restaurant chain raised over $300,000 to support farm-to-school programs in 2009


Partners and Frequent Collaborators

Council Members:

·      Appalachian Sustainable Development

·      Catawba Sustainability Center

·      Center for Rural Virginia

·      Harrisonburg City Public Schools

·      Jefferson Area Board for Aging

·      Local Food Hub

·      Mattawoman Creek Farms

·      Piedmont Environmental Council

·      Society of St. Andrew

·      The Local Food Project at Airlie

·      UVA Institute for Environmental Negotiation

·      VA Assoc. for Biological Farming

·      VA Beach Dept. of Agriculture

·      VCE

·      VA Dept. of Ag. And Consume Services

·      VA Dept. of Conservation and Recreation

·      VA Dept. of Education

·      Virginia Department of Health

·      Virginia Dietetic Association

·      Virginia Farm Bureau Federation

·      Virginia State University

·      Virginia Tech

·      Water Stewardship, Inc.

·      Williamsburg Farmers Market

Other Partners