The Sustainable Table Award goes to Dr Jewel Hairston for advancing Virginia’s community food system

The Virginia Food System Council awards its inaugural 'Sustainable Table Award' to a true leader.
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Charlottesville - Virginia - US


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - April 25, 2014 - PRLog -- Dr. Jewell Hairston,Dean of the School of Agriculture at Virginia State University, was awarded the first ever Sustainable Table Award from the Virginia Food System Council at the 2014 Virginia Urban Agriculture Summit held in Lynchburg on April 15 and 16. In presenting the award, Council Chairman Spencer Neale noted it did not take long for council directors to choose Dr. Hairston as the person they felt most deserved this award. “There were several names that came up when our board considered the most fitting recipient of this inaugural award and Jewel very quickly rose to the top of the list” Neale said. “Her passion, enthusiasm, and leadership in so many areas related to food and the myriad of issues surrounding it really make her someone you want at the table, she is always ready to get to work.”

Dr. Hairston addressed the crowd on the morning of the 16th in regards to the recently released report from the Virginia Food Desert Task Force which was formed as a result of House Joint Resolution 88 calling for a study of this issue in Virginia along with some recommendations to consider in addressing the matter. She and Dr. Allan Grant, her counterpart at Virginia Tech, were commissioned to form such a group and complete a study in time for the 2014 General Assembly Session.  Dr. Hairston took the leadership role for this project and the final report is available to the public at In presenting the award, Neale stressed Dr. Hairston’s “keen ability to bring stakeholders together from opposite sectors of the food system as a part of bridging the producer to consumer gap and working towards a common ground and a common good.”

This Sustainable Table Award is designed to honor and recognize individuals, organizations or businesses whose dynamic work and commitment have resulted in outstanding contributions toward the Virginia Food System Council’s mission:  to advance a nutrient-rich and safe food system for Virginians at all income levels, with an emphasis on access to local food, successful linkages between food producers and consumers, and a healthy, viable future for Virginia’s farmers and farmland.

Founded in 2009, the Food System Council consists of 24 directors from across the state representing 16 distinct segments of the food system from table to fork. The Council was one of many organizers who put on the 2 day conference which focused on growing food in urban areas and the many intersects it creates among diverse interests all the way from farmers to consumers of diverse income levels.

For more information contact Maria van Dyke (mobile) 707-980-8569

Va. Food System Council, 410 East Water Street, Suite 700, Charlottesville, VA 22902

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