Resources of the UVA Food Collaborative

Food insecurity in Richmond and statewide is the subject of documentary+March 10, 2015
By Michael Paul Williams
When Emmy Award-winning director Jesse Vaughan was approached about producing a film on food insecurity in Virginia, the problem hit home for him.
His mom lives on Richmond’s North Side in the house he grew up in. “And when I was approached for consideration on doing this as a documentary, I was talking to her about it and I realized she lives in a food desert,” Vaughan recalled Sunday.
“So I took it very personally and said, ‘You know what? I need to pour my heart and soul into this issue and make people aware that it’s a very serious problem.’ ”
“Living in a Food Desert,” a documentary produced by Vaughan and Cedric Owens for Virginia State University’s College of Agriculture, had just premiered at the Richmond International Film Festival. After the screening, a panel that included Dorothy McAuliffe, Virginia’s first lady, weighed in.
“There needs to be a forceful call to action,” she told a Byrd Theatre audience that included her husband, Gov. Terry McAuliffe. She had noted on screen that more than 300,000 Virginia children are food insecure. Her advocacy on the issue “comes from being a parent. And to imagine that a parent can’t feed their child nutritious, wholesome food, it’s just heart-wrenching.”
She called it ironic that a state whose $70 billion agriculture industry feeds folks around the world is not reaching its neediest residents.
Jewel E. Hairston, dean of the School of Agriculture at Virginia State University, enlisted Vaughan to bring the issue to life upon completing a report on food deserts as co-chair of a task force with Alan Grant, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech.
“I was blown away by the fact that 17.8 percent of Virginians live in a food desert,” Vaughan recalled. “And Richmond is one of the highest food deserts in the nation for a city its size.”
There’s a strong relationship between food deserts and poverty and a lack of adequate transportation. But the faces of those affected are as varied as Virginia’s landscape. “We indeed found that food deserts exist in every area of the state of Virginia,” Hairston said.
She expressed hope that people will use the film “to show this issue and how it impacts people all over Virginia, so we can bring solutions to the problem.”
Testimony in the documentary makes it clear that to not address this problem is to compound others.
“We have a location just here in our neighborhood that was a grocery store. It’s now a dialysis center, and it tells the story,” Sally Schwitters, executive director of Tricycle Gardens in Church Hill, says in the film. “This is what happens when food access moves out. Lack of health moves in.”
Del. Delores L. McQuinn, a Richmond Democrat, had submitted bills to study and address the food insecurity issue in Virginia, leading House Speaker William J. Howell, a Republican from Stafford, to commission the food desert study. In the documentary, she says she became aware of food insecurity as a Richmond City Council member moved by hungry individuals, including children, who would knock on her door asking for food.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines a food desert as an area with limited access to affordable and nutritious food, particularly if it’s predominantly low-income. More specifically, that population lives more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store in an urban area, or more than 10 miles from such an establishment in a rural area.
Betsy Shepard of rural Surry County can relate.
“We don’t have a grocery store in our entire county,” she told the audience. “And we haven’t had a grocery store in our entire county for about a decade.”
A community group is working to rectify this problem, but they don’t know what they’re doing, she said. “We’re committed to picking ourselves up by our bootstraps, but could someone meet us a little bit of the way?”
The Rev. Dr. Michael A. Sanders of Mount Olive Baptist Church brought a large contingent to the Byrd from his Bells Road church.
“As disciples of the Lord, we are commanded to feed the hungry. And we take that commandment seriously,” he said. “We have quickly become one of the largest food pantries in the city of Richmond.”
Each Wednesday, its pantry feeds 150 to 200 families. “We’re just scratching the surface. We want to double that,” he told the audience. But to do so will require prayers, money and volunteers, he said.
The documentary is filled with organizations working heroically to address food insecurity, including Tricycle Gardens, Shalom Farms, Lynchburg Grows and FeedMore, the Central Virginia hunger relief organization that oversees the Central Virgina Food Bank, Meals on Wheels and Community Kitchen. But the Food Deserts report concludes that these efforts are only partially successful and appear to be in need of more effective coordination.
Among its recommendations is that the Virginia Food System Council take the lead on the food insecurity issue, coordinating public and private grants to distribute funds to local organizations. It also calls for a study on the feasibility of mobile farmers markets and for the establishment an urban farm as an educational and training center for other communities.
Vaughan, special assistant for media and marketing to VSU interim President Pamela V. Hammond, hopes the film will spark a dialogue among those in a position to solve the problem.
The problem, at least initially, was poorly understood by legislators, but the ideas on how to address it should resonate with them. A recurring theme Sunday was that this issue represents an opportunity for folks to take charge of their lives by developing socially conscious economies around food.
“It’s important for any solution around food deserts to not be paternalistic, in the sense that you just come in and drop food off and you’re gone,” Duron Chavis, project director of VSU’s Indoor Farm, says in the documentary.
“The key word there is empowerment,” said panelist John Lewis, director of Renew Richmond. “We have the opportunity to empower communities that live in food deserts, especially low-income individuals, to take their food system back.”
It’s an opportunity the state has an obligation to nurture.
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Group advocates against city’s use of pesticides+February 3, 2015
Some of My Best Friends Are Germs+January 30, 2015
Michael Pollan explores the symbiotic relationship between himself and the trillions of microbes that call his body home.
Katie Couric discusses Fed Up+November 13, 2014
A post-film conversation with Katie Couric, and Dr. Mark Hyman, moderated by Dr. Christine M. Burt Solorzano.
Purdue cuts antibiotic use in chickens+September 13, 2014
[ more News, Stories & Books ... ]
The Goddess of Gumbo+March 14, 2012
A personal blog on food, feminism, and politics--from a Southern perspective.
The Salt+January 19, 2012
NPR's food blog.
Roadside Food Projects Blog+August 2, 2011
Morven Kitchen Garden Blog+June 20, 2011
When Thomas Jefferson imagined his ideal Academical Village, he emphasized the importance of agriculture in higher education. Jefferson used his gardens as a living laboratory at Monticello, where he experimented with 330 different vegetables and 170 fruit varieties. Over 200 years later, Jefferson's values of agriculture are being reexamined at Morven Farm. In 2001, philanthropist John W. Kluge gave this 7,379-acres to the University of Virginia Foundation for educational and charitable purposes. The Foundation currently retains 2,913 acres known as "Morven." This property, once purchased by Thomas Jefferson for William Short, is now a central hub for interdisciplinary research, seminars, retreats, and innovative UVA courses.

A key component to the ongoing educational initiatives at Morven is the Morven Kitchen Garden Project. Located on a one-acre plot which was once organically cultivated for John Kluge, this project will provide a hands-on learning opportunity to study food production cycles, design sustainable agriculture technologies, and develop a better understanding of the social, environmental, and economic implications of our daily food choices.

Ultimately, the Morven Kitchen Garden will link the University’s dedication to sustainability with Jefferson’s respect for cultivators of the earth, who he considered to be among the country's "most valuable citizens." With the help of your contributions to the Morven Kitchen Garden, we can reinforce these Jeffersonian ideals and inspire our nation’s next generation of leaders and shape a more sustainable local and global food system.
UNC Gillings Sustainable Ag Project+June 16, 2011

The Gillings Sustainable Agriculture Project is a Gillings Innovative Laboratory through the Gillings School of Global Public Health. Can eating local address obesity, the environment, and economic viability?

Goal: To study the public health impact of moving toward a local, sustainable food system.

Dr. Alice Ammerman – professor of nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, and Director of the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, leads a large collaborative team gathering health, environmental and economic data within North Carolina.
Partners: UNC’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention; numerous UNC departments, including Nutrition, Anthropology, Environmental Sciences and Engineering; NC State’s Center for Environmental Farming Systems; the Renaissance Computing Institute; Center for Sustainable Community Design; Office of Economic and Business Development, N.C. A&T faculty; the Documentary Studies Department at Duke; Orange County Economic Development offices; and the North Carolina Division of Public Health.

The UNC study will last two years.

This project is supported by a Gillings Innovation Laboratory award from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. The award is funded through a generous gift to the UNC Gillings School of Public Health from Dennis and Joan Gillings.
This project is the 8th Gillings Innovation Laboratory to receive funding.

Research is being conducted across North Carolina.
[ more Blogs ... ]
Morven Summer Institute Project Now on Farm Hack+August 13, 2012
At the 2011 Morven Summer Institute, a group of students built a vegetable washing station for use in the Morven Kitchen Garden. The project also included the creation of a \"How To Guide\" for anyone interested in building one for themselves. The guide is now posted as a tool on the Farm Hack website – check it out!
Virginia Festival of the Book - Food Events+March 19, 2012
See this link for your food-focused guide for the 2012 Virginia Festival of the Book, right here in Charlottesville.
Testimonies from the Senate Agriculture Committee on Healthy Food Initiatives, Local Production, and Nutrition +March 13, 2012
This hearing had testimonies regarding innovative strategies for supporting local food.
Brooklyn Culinary Incubator+February 12, 2012
As announced by Brooklyn Borough President, Marty Markowitz, 3rd Ward will open a Culinary Incubator in 2013 with the generous support of the city of Brooklyn and the assistance of the New York Economic Development Corporation.
Virginia Farm to Table+February 12, 2012
This website and blog is devoted to strengthening connections from the farm to the table and enhancing Virginia’s overall food system. The social, economic and environmental importance of farming and food is often overlooked and under-appreciated by individuals and communities. With our fast-paced lives and hectic schedules, it is easy to take farming and where food comes from for granted, particularly when we rarely have time to sit down for a meal at a table. Yet, farming and food are fundamental necessities for individuals and communities to thrive socially and economically for the common wealth and common good. In launching this website and blog, we hope to reconnect individuals and communities to farming and food, and highlight the social, environmental and economic importance of these connections.
[ more Websites ... ]
American Meat+January 6, 2013
A documentary about the meat industry in the United States as seen through the eyes of beef, pig, and poultry farmers.
Documentary: Weight of the Nation+June 13, 2012
Confronting America's obesity epidemic.
TEDx Claremont Colleges - Jesse DuBois+April 3, 2012
Jesse DuBois shares his entrepeneurial spirit and passion for urban, sustainable agriculture.
Meet the Workers Who Pick a Third of the Tomatoes in US Supermarkets+March 28, 2012
A video about the workers and working conditions in Immokalee, FL at tomato farms. Florida is a major producer of "fresh" tomatoes in the US, with Immokalee being the largest tomato-producing town.
World Water Day Recycling Society+March 22, 2012
A short animation showing how cities could reorganize how water is cycled in order to maximize its use potential between urban uses and agricultural uses.
[ more Films ... ]
Examining the Health Effects of Fructose+August 13, 2013
This brief article (gated) examines the physiological effects of common sugars and argues against a narrow public health focus on fructose.
Moving Food Along the Value Chain: Innovations in Regional Food Distribution+March 22, 2012
A report from the USDA on regional food distribution, including food hubs.
Food deserts + Walmart+January 18, 2012
Food for Thought: A Case Study of Walmart's Impact on Harlem's Healthy Food Retail Landscape
The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2011 [UN FAO]+October 12, 2011
"The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2011 highlights the differential impacts that the world food crisis of 2006-08 had on different countries, with the poorest being most affected. While some large countries were able to deal with the worst of the crisis, people in many small import-dependent countries experienced large price increases that, even when only temporary, can have permanent effects on their future earnings capacity and ability to escape poverty.

This year’s report focuses on the costs of food price volatility, as well as the dangers and opportunities presented by high food prices. Climate change and an increased frequency of weather shocks, increased linkages between energy and agricultural markets due to growing demand for biofuels, and increased financialization of food and agricultural commodities all suggest that price volatility is here to stay. The report describes the effects of price volatility on food security and presents policy options to reduce volatility in a cost-effective manner and to manage it when it cannot be avoided."
Fostering Community Food Security in the African American Community+July 20, 2011
Malik Yakini
Interim Executive Director, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network
Chair, Detroit Food Policy Council
[ more Scholarly Journals ... ]
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy+January 19, 2012
Issues: Agriculture, Climate Change, Energy, Environment, Food, Globalization, Health, Justice, Markets, Rural Development.
Mid Atlantic Student Food Cooperative Convergence Registration+September 21, 2011
Join us for a weekend of business training, good food, and organizing! The Convergence will take place September 30 through October 2 in Philadelphia at the Village of Arts and Humanities. Workshops will benefit new start up projects, existing co-ops, and everything in between. We will be providing a place to stay and all meals as well. We are asking $50 for this Convergence. However, registering does not require immediate payment. We will follow up about payment in the coming weeks.
Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP)+June 29, 2011
"In essence, CAADP is about bringing together diverse key players - at the continental, regional and national levels - to improve co-ordination, to share knowledge, successes and failures, to encourage one another, and to promote joint and separate efforts to achieve the CAADP goals.

CAADP's aims
CAADP aims to help African countries reach a higher path of economic growth through agriculture-led development.

CAADP's vision
Through NEPAD, CAADP addresses policy and capacity issues across the entire agricultural sector and African continent. CAADP is entirely African-led and African-owned and represents African leaders' collective vision for agriculture in Africa. This ambitious and comprehensive vision for agricultural reform in Africa aims for an average annual growth rate of 6 percent in agriculture by 2015."
Planning for Food Systems in Ontario: A Call to Action+June 24, 2011
The growing demand for local food is testament to the desire of many to become more connected to their sources of food. In turn, there is an increasing need for coordinated solutions to food systems issues. Food systems have long been linked to planning and are a key consideration for complete and healthy communities. A greater understanding is emerging on the importance of planners being more involved in planning for food systems and that this can result in healthier outcomes for Ontarians.

The Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) has prepared this Call to Action to raise awareness and to highlight key issues so that Ontario’s planners and communities can address the challenges associated with planning for food systems.

OPPI is the recognized voice of the Province’s planning profession. Our more than 3,000 members work in government, private practice, universities, and non-profit agencies in the fields of urban and rural planning and development, urban design, environmental planning, transportation, health and social services, heritage conservation, housing, and economic development."
AgrAbility: Connecting Farming and Disabled People+May 21, 2011
Fascinating: "The AgrAbility Project was created to assist people with disabilities employed in agriculture. The project links the Cooperative Extension Service at a land-grant university with a private nonprofit disability service organization to provide practical education and assistance that promotes independence in agricultural production and rural living. The AgrAbility Project assists people involved in production agriculture who work both on small and large operations."
[ more Organizations ... ]
Farm Intern at Leavings Farm+April 2, 2012
Leavings is a small, highly-diversified permaculture homestead with re-forestation as our primary focus. We are in the early stages of establishing a small market garden to include myriad fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers, with an emphasis on medicinal, perennial, unusual, multiple-use, and hardy varieties. We raise livestock—a mixed poultry flock of ducks, geese, chickens, and guineas; a small herd of goats; and honeybees—primarily for our own sustenance
and for the ecological services they provide. Arts, crafts, and creative expression are an essential compliment to our work on the land. We are constantly attempting to balance all of our endeavors in the effort to situate them within a holistic system. Leavings is located in the central Appalachian deciduous hardwood forest bioregion, in the eastern foothills of the Shenandoah mountain range, in the watersheds of the Swift Run, North Fork Rivanna, and James Rivers, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean. The farm sits at an average of 570 feet above sea level, on a 45-acre parcel near the town of Stanardsville in Greene County, Virginia.

For the 2012 growing season, Leavings is looking for individuals with an interest in growing quality food to join us as interns. We offer rustic accommodations, delicious meals, a small monthly stipend, and experiential education in exchange for your eagerness to learn, willingness to work, and ability to cooperate. Values of respect, honesty, awareness, consistency, and a sense of humor are also required. The ability to withstand the Virginia heat and humidity is essential. You will be integrated into all aspects of farm life, and will receive broad gardening lessons in planning, composting, seeding, irrigation, equipment, planting, mulching, harvesting, and cleaning—plus organic gardening and forest management principles—and animal lessons including feeding, nutrition, health care, pasture management, pasture rotation, breeding, kidding,
milking, and processing. Leavings is also home to many species of wildlife, and most of the land will remain a minimally-managed refuge. Interns are encouraged to explore those facets of small-scale farming, self-reliance, and conservation of most interest personally, and we include plenty of time in the daily schedule for discussion, questions, and feedback.

We are also very much engaged with the historical, social, intellectual, and ethical aspects of farming, including research into such topics as: the origins of agriculture, indigenous and pre-modern food-growing practices, the ascent of mechanization, central-Virginia food traditions, poverty and malnutrition, herbal medicine, appropriate technology, greenwashing, government agriculture policy, urban/rural relationships, carbon sequestration, geology and hydrology, plant and animal breeding, land access for small farmers, peak oil, food security, cooking, and many other realms of inquiry. We are continuously adding to our already extensive library of nature and farming books, most of which deal with cutting-edge permaculture-related
principles and practices. We also subscribe to many farming periodicals, and intend to begin expanding our collection of historical agricultural texts. All of these references are available for intern use.

This is an exciting time for the small-scale farming community, and we will gladly help you to find your niche within it. If you wish to discuss the possibility of a one-week to three- month commitment as an intern at Leavings, or have any questions, please call Melissa and Paul at 434.990.0239. We look forward to hearing from you.
Coordinator, DC Food System Workgroup+March 7, 2012
Bread for the City seeks a full-time Coordinator to work with the DC Food System Organizing Workgroup.

In 2009, a group of organizations and individuals began meeting to discuss the creation of a food policy council to foster collaboration across the food system and address the root causes of injustice. Our vision is for a nourishing community in which all Washington, DC residents can enjoy a nutritious, safe, and culturally appropriate diet provided by a local, sustainable food system that fosters health, equity, interdependence, and self-reliance. This position will coordinate the formation of a robust, representative advisory body to realize this vision.
Regional Field Organizer, Real Food Challenge+March 5, 2012
The Real Food Challenge Field Organizer Fellowship Program is a unique opportunity for recent college graduates to get first hand experience as part-time organizers and food movement leaders. Through this 14-month program, Fellows engage in intensive student organizing projects on a regional and national level while also honing their leadership skills and food systems knowledge through our participatory learning curriculum and engaged Fellowship community.
Intern - Sustainable and Equitable Food Systems+February 25, 2012

Full-time Intern, Sustainable and Equitable Food Systems – Arlington, VA

Effective with the release of this position announcement, Winrock International will be recruiting applicants
for an internship with the Wallace Center at Winrock International. The responsibilities, duties and
qualifications are described in the attached position description.

Winrock International is a nonprofit organization that works with people in the United States and around
the world to empower the disadvantaged, increase economic opportunity, and sustain natural resources.
Winrock matches innovative approaches in agriculture, natural resources management, clean energy, and
leadership development with the unique needs of its partners. By linking local individuals and communities
with new ideas and technology, Winrock is increasing long-term productivity, equity, and responsible resource
management to benefit the poor and disadvantaged of the world.

Since 1983, the Wallace Center at Winrock International has been a key organization in fostering a more
sustainable food and agricultural system in the United States. Wallace Center, a business unit within Winrock
International, is a leader in developing market based solutions that link more people and more diverse
communities to “good food” – food that is healthy, green, fair, and affordable. The Wallace Center is improving
the ability of small- and medium-sized producers to expand their markets; building capacity among nonprofits
and for-profits to strengthen market linkages; and increasing access to fresh and healthy foods for historically
underserved populations in both urban and rural areas.

The focus of Wallace Center is on developing market-based solutions that link a larger number of people and
communities to healthy and sustainably produced food that supports a viable farm community, development
of capacity among non-profits to facilitate enterprise development, building capacity for community-based
food systems and expanding marketing channels to link urban and rural communities.


Applicants may go to Winrock’s Job Page at to complete an online application, submit a current resume and cover letter by February 29, 2012. Winrock International is an equal opportunity and
affirmative action employer.

Successful candidate will receive $12/hr. Benefits are not included with this position.

March 5, 2012

September 7, 2012 (Flexible, 3-6 months)
Good Food Jobs+February 16, 2011
Good Food Jobs is a gastro-job search tool, designed to link people looking for meaningful food work with the businesses that need their energy, enthusiasm, and intellect. The site posts opportunities with farmers and food artisans, policy-makers and purveyors, retailers and restaurateurs, economist, ecologists, and more. (It also clearly appreciates alliteration when it can get it.)
[ more Jobs ... ]
UVa Sustainability Assessment+May 2, 2012
The Office of the Architect is pleased to announce the release of the 2011 UVa Sustainability Assessment. This 2011 Assessment updates the original 2006 UVA Sustainability Assessment and provides a comprehensive inventory of the University's progress towards sustainability in the last five years. The Assessment is organized into three broad categories: Governance & Culture, Academics & Learning, and Management Centers, which are further divided into seven focus areas: Land Use, Built Environment, Transportation, Dining, Energy & Carbon, Water, and Waste & Recycling.
Virginia Farm-to-Table Plan+February 17, 2012
The Virginia Farm to Table Plan is now available! The Plan is the outcome of an initiative began in September 2010 among Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Food System Council, University of Virginia, and others. The goal of the initiative was to strengthen Virginia’s food system and economic future through the development of a comprehensive Virginia Farm to Table Plan that informs and integrates assessment, education, development of programs and infrastructure, policy and funding recommendations to address key issues facing farmers, food entrepreneurs, and communities. The Plan would directly address 1) local regional farm and food markets 2) agricultural economic development, 3) community viability and environmental stewardship, and 4) food access, nutrition and health.
2nd Virginia Food Security Summit - Report+February 8, 2012
Read what the speakers, discussion groups, and round table participants had to say during the second Virginia Food Security Summit in Charlottesville.
When Eating Well is a Matter of Where You Live (co-authored by Paul Freedman)+June 20, 2011
America’s battle to lose weight and eat healthy has many fronts. There is the battle to get Americans to make better choices at restaurants. There is the battle to get them to shop smarter.

But for some people and some communities, the battle is about having access to healthy food. Some places may be swimming in Whole Foods Markets, but in others, places labeled food deserts, affordable nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables can be hard to come by. And these food deserts are spread across Patchwork Nation, but very unevenly.

Some of our 12 county types are much better places to try and live a healthy lifestyle (the wealthy Monied Burbs) than others (African-American heavy Minority Central).

Planning Functions of Community Food Projects+June 14, 2011
"Abstract: The number of community food projects (CFPs) has increased in American and international locations over the past several decades. This paper highlights six community planning goals that are addressed by CFPs, drawing parallels with how these items are typically addressed through traditional planning methods. Each community planning goal includes a discussion with examples of traditional and CFP planning methods. Additionally, I attempt to illustrate key characteristics of successful traditional and CFP planning, and encourage community planners to better understand these unique features and limitations as they try to further community goals."
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