Mission & History
About The West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition
The mission of the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition is to improve the viability of the local food sector statewide by building and supporting a statewide network of those involved in West Virginia’s local food economies.
Through this network, The West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition develops regional foodsheds and build connections among those foodsheds by GROWING food and farm business, PROMOTING access to local foods, SHARING resources, CHANGING agricultural policy, MAPPING and CONNECTING the local food sector, and TELLING West Virginia’s food and farm story.
The West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
The West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition was launched by the West Virginia Community Development Hub in August 2010. Beginning in 2010, West Virginia communities contacted the Hub requesting food and farm information and resources. It soon became clear that to shape the economic landscape of local food would require resource and information sharing between individuals, farmers, governmental agencies, and businesses. At that time, limited communication and organization meant that divisions existed among communities and service organizations that hampered the development of the local food sector.
Given this gap and these divisions, The West Virginia Community Development Hub convened over 25 food-focused agencies and organizations to identify the need and shape the basis for a new initiative to be called The West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition.
Today, The West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition has developed beyond our focus on relationship-building and provides leadership to the local food and farm sector across the state of West Virginia by building a strong network equipped to support regional foodsheds to GROW food and farm business, PROMOTE access to local foods, and SHARE resources, as well as to MAP and CONNECT the local food sector, CHANGE agricultural policy, and TELL West Virginia’s Food and Farm Story statewide.
- Held 4 Regional Roundtables across the state, resulting in this summarizing report.
- Hired a full time Project Coordinator through the West Virginia Community Development Hub.
- Recuirted first AmeriCorps OSMRE/VISTA through the Appalachian Coal Country Team.
- Held first-annual Road Map to the Food Economy Conference, effectively diagnosing the landscape of local food and agriculture in the state and what steps need to be taken to bolster local food systems state-wide.
- Published studies: “West Virginia Food System: Seasonal Production Expansion and its Impacts” and “West Virginia Food System: Opportunities and Constraints in Local Food Supply Chains.”
- Funded several Rapid Response Mini Grants, sponsored by Benedum, to the following organizations: Small Farm Training Center (Wheeling), Tri State Food & Farm Conference (Huntington), Fayette County Cooks Association, and East Wheeling Community Gardens.
- Released Fresh Ideas in Action video series.
- Held second-annual Road Map to the Food Economy Conference.
- Organized a tour of West Virginia Foodsystems for the Appalachian Regional Commission.
- Hired a summer Food Policy fellow and made comments on the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
- Hired first Executive Director and submitted 501(c)3 paperwork.
- Recruited second AmeriCorps OSMRE/VISTA through the Appalachian Coal Country Team.
- Held third-annual Road Map to the Food Economy Conference, where we presented the 2014 Road Map Update.
- Advocated for the successful passage of a regulatory rule on the behalf of West Virginia farmers that increased the on-farm poultry processing limit from 1000 to 3000 per flock with a total of 20,000 per year.
- Published toolkit, “Farmers Market SNAP Outreach: Tactics and Best Practices in West Virginia”
- Convened an Advocacy Training for Working Groups, featuring state legislators & agency members, lobbyists, community organizers, and more.
- Funded Mobile Farmers Markets operated by Grow Ohio Valley (Wheeling), and the Williamson Farmers Market (Williamson).
- Organized a tour of the Greenbrier Valley Local Food System for the Appalachian Regional Commission.
- Hired first Program Coordinator and received approval from the IRS regarding 501(c)3 status.
When West Virginia farmers and food producers become more directly connected to West Virginia consumers, the results include healthier people, greater business opportunities, stronger communities, and a unique economy reflecting our state’s proud heritage of self-sufficient food production.
To accelerate this movement, we provide the means to link farmers, processors, distributors, educators, agencies, nonprofits, farmers markets, restaurants, youth groups, institutional food service, and anyone else committed to making our local food economy stronger.