November 14, 2011 — The 2nd Virginia Food Security Summit, "Connecting Our Farms, Food, Health and Environment," will be held Dec. 5 and 6 at the University of Virginia. The summit is expected to launch the Virginia Farm-to-Table Plan, the first statewide strategic food security plan.
The event will showcase innovators in sustainable food initiatives and provides a forum for national and state leaders to discuss food trends. Participants hope to develop ideas and actions for increasing access to healthy, nutritious food in Virginia, organizers said.
Farmers, producers, representatives of non-profits, government officials, entrepreneurs, students and concerned citizens are encouraged to attend.
The summit kicks off with a "crystal ball roundtable" on national food system trends, scheduled for Dec. 5, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., in Jefferson Scholars Foundation Hall, 112 Clarke Court.
Participants are scheduled to include Fred Kirschenmann of Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Ames, Iowa, and Kirschenmann Family Farms, an award-winning organic farm; Ken Meter of Crossroads Resource Center of Minneapolis; Renard Turner of Vanguard Ranch, a sustainable goat and organic produce farm in Gordonsville; and other invited guests. The session will be moderated by Tanya Denckla Cobb, associate director of U.Va.'s Institute for Environmental Negotiation.
A reception follows at 7:30 p.m.
Events continue on Dec. 6 at Alumni Hall at 211 Emmet St.
• 9 a.m.: Welcome by Virginia Del. Tony Wilt (R-26th)
• 9:20 a.m.: Presentation of the Virginia Farm to Table Plan, followed by a workshop about implementing the plan to strengthen local, regional and statewide food systems.
• Noon: Lunch and Roundtable Discussion, including Jewel Hairston, Virginia State University School of Agriculture; Fred Kirschenmann, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Ken Meter, Crossroads Resource Center; and Renard Turner, Vanguard Ranch are scheduled to participate. The sessions will be moderated by Jeffrey Plank, associate vice president in the U.Va. Office of the Vice President for Research.
• 1:30 p.m.: State of the State: Showcasing Food System Innovation Across Virginia
Presentations will include "Innovation in Schools, Health & Food," with Andrea Early, Harrisonburg Public Schools, and Dina Sorenson, VMDO Architects, Charlottesville and Buckingham County; "Innovation in Food Distribution," with Emily Manley, Local Food Hub, Charlottesville, Molly Harris, Lulus Local Food, Richmond, and Frank Holland, U.S. Food Services; and "Innovation in Food Entrepreneurship & Business," with Francis Ngoh, shiitake mushroom grower and distributor, Fauquier County, a representative of D.C. Central Kitchen in Washington, and Phil Petrilli, Chipotle's operations director for the Northeast.
• 3:15 p.m.: Closing Remarks: Next Steps for the Farm-to-Table Plan
A reception will follow.
The registration fee is $55 for all events, $45 for Dec. 6 only, and $15 for Dec. 5 only. Scholarships are available. For information and to register, visit virginiafoodsummit.org/.
The event is hosted by the University of Virginia, the U.Va. Food Collaborative, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, Virginia Food System Council, Virginia State University School of Agriculture, Virginia Tech, Washington & Lee University and the Piedmont Environmental Council.