On Tuesday, June 14th the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition (WVFFC) welcomed over 30 people to the Annual Advocacy Training and Workshop in Summersville, West Virginia. A diverse group of farmers, food business owners, service providers, nonprofit organizations, food bank representatives, and community members from across the state spent the morning hearing from the Coalition’s Executive Director, Elizabeth Spellman, about the Coalition’s policy program, an introduction to the state legislative process, and a recap of the 2016 legislative session. Stephanie Tyree, the WV Community Development Hub’s Executive Director, moderated a panel of four Coalition partners: Adam Taylor, WV Farmers Market Association; Elizabeth Spellman, WVFFC; Emmett Pepper, Energy Efficiency West Virginia and WVFFC 2016 Lobbyist; and Cynthia Kirkhart, Mountaineer Food Bank who all shared stories from the front lines of the 2016 legislative session. Each panelist recounted the challenges and successes of the Coalition’s legislative priorities in 2016.
In the afternoon, the conversation shifted away from the 2016 legislative session to the 2017 legislative session. To begin the process of selecting the Coalition’s 2017 legislative priorities, the afternoon workshop provided a space for participants to identify policy asks addressing food access and farm viability in West Virginia. Participants selected one of the following issue areas to develop a policy or program:
As a result of the collaborative and inspired conversations, the Coalition will provide you with a voting poll to select our 2017 legislative priorities this July.