September 27, 2011 — The Virginia Food Heritage Project is seeking community members who are knowledgeable about Central Virginia's unique place-based food heritage. Visit the Virginia Food Heritage Project booth at the 16th Annual Old Farm Day to be held Saturday in Pleasant Grove, near Palmyra in Fluvanna County.
Following its successful launch at the Heritage Harvest Festival, this is another opportunity for Virginia Food Heritage Project to share its mission and meet those passionate for heritage foods in the community.
At the booth, project volunteers will help visitors share their knowledge about place-based foods and traditions in Virginia's central piedmont region in several ways. Visitors will be able to "Map Your Food Memory" on an interactive display, where they can mark specific food heritage sites that were important for food production, processing, distribution or sale. The volunteers will collect information about specific heritage varieties or animal breeds that may now be extinct, threatened or endangered, or are still here in abundance. A quick survey will be provided to share with others who have knowledge to contribute.
The booth will also give away food heritage basket door prizes and display old-fashioned cookbooks from Central Virginia.
The Virginia Food Heritage Project is a collaborative, community-based pilot project that envisions a greater understanding and documentation of our food heritage to enhance our regional sustainability and resilience. Led by the University of Virginia's Institute for Environmental Negotiation, the project's partners include the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, the Jefferson Area Board for Aging, the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning in the U.Va. School of Architecture, the U.Va. Food Collaborative, the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics in the U.Va. College of Arts & Sciences,the Fluvanna County Historical Society, Morven Heritage Garden, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and Fluvanna Cooperative Extension.
The Virginia Food Heritage Project seeks to build knowledge about heritage place-based foods, and to create opportunities for economic development and community-building in and through the region's agricultural future.
The project's initial focus is a pilot project, with funding from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, in Charlottesville and in Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson counties. Ideally the project will grow and be replicated in other regions in the state.
The core activity of the project is to gather, document and publish information on four aspects of our food heritage:
• Identify at-risk, threatened and endangered place-based heritage foods, seeds and animal breeds unique to the central piedmont;
• Identify and map heritage food and agricultural sites, such as mills and granaries, canneries, butcheries and cideries;
• Identify heritage food production areas, such as areas where specific crops were traditionally grown; and
• Record and collect personal stories and memories of culturally significant food and agriculture practices, including written and audio-visual documentation for a Food Heritage StoryCorps.
Visitors to Old Farm Day, scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., will enjoy antique farm equipment and cars, arts and crafts, children's activities, demonstrations and exhibits and a variety of food, entertainment and contests. For information, visit oldfarmday.org.