Over 1100 families and 33 businesses have pledged to spend at $10 or MORE a week on locally produced food totaling over $1 million a year kept in Virginia’s economy. “We have a long ways to go but our goal is to encourage every family in Virginia to Take the Pledge”, said Maria van Dyke, Council Coordinator. According to research by the Virginia Cooperative Extension, if every family in Virginia spent this small amount on locally-grown food, over one year we could generate an additional $1.65 billion back into our local economy.
The campaign is designed to build demand for locally grown products and spark dialogue. We hope to continue to drive educational discussions about the many benefits of purchasing and eating local sustainably grown food as well as issues surrounding healthy food access -- issues with which we foster engagement through our monthly newsletter, facebook page and other social media outlets.
Why Is This Challenge Important To Virginians?
· ECONOMY: Buying locally creates jobs and keeps more dollars within the local economy.
· TASTY & NUTRITIOUS: Fresh picked locally-grown foods don’t have to endure long storage travel distances, and can be more flavorful and nutrient rich; when food is flavor-rich both adults and children want to eat more of them, thereby improving their health.
· BUILD COMMUNITY: When consumers shop at farmers’ markets, farm stands, or on the farm, they get to know their farmers and build understanding with those who grow their food.
How Can Households Easily Access Locally-Grown Foods?
· Look for the “Virginia Grown” logo wherever you shop to identify locally-grown products. Its user-friendly website www.virginiagrown.com lists CSA’s, pick-your-own farms, farm stands and farmers’ markets per community.
· The Buy Fresh Buy Local food guide and the website are other sites to search for local farms and markets. www.buylocalvirginia.org
· Check out our Local Food Resources (http://virginiafoodsystemcouncil.org/
· Buy Virginia wine. See http://www.virginiawine.org/
· Choose restaurants that feature local products on their menus.
· Build demand by sharing your preference for local foods with store managers.
Council Member Don Loock notes, “By voting with our wallets we all can help create jobs, grow our local economy, keep family farms working and sustainable, all while eating delicious and healthy foods. Doing good never tasted so great.” Click here to Take The Pledge.
Founded in 2009, the Food System Council consists of 24 directors from across the state representing 16 distinct sectors of Virginia’s food system from farmland to fork.
For more information contact Maria van Dyke (mobile) 707-980-8568
Virginia Food System Council, 410 East Water Street, Suite 700, Charlottesville, Va 22902