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People touring greenhouse

The center is supported by a number of people including members of our Center Team and Advisory Group as well as our Partners


Kim Niewolny

Kim Niewolny, Director
Associate Professor, Community Education and Development
Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education
Virginia Tech

Eric Bendfeldt

Eric Bendfeldt, Associate Director
Extension Specialist, Community, Local, and Regional Food Systems
Community Viability Program
Virginia Cooperative Extension

Garland Mason

Garland Mason, Center Associate
Coordinator of AgrAbility Virginia
Virginia Tech

Katie Trozzo

Katie Trozzo, Center Associate
Coordinator, Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program
Virginia Tech
(540) 231-4582

Advisory Board

Jeanette Abi-Nader

Jeanette Abi-Nader
Executive Director, Cultivate Charlottesville 

Dominic Barrett

Dominic Barrett
Executive Director, Shalom Farms
Virginia Food Systems Council

CL Bohannon

C.L. Bohannon
Assistant Professor
Department of Landscape Architecture
Virginia Tech
Leadership and Social Change Residential College at Virginia Tech

Jewel Bronaugh

Jewel Bronaugh
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Commonwewalth of Virginia

Leonard Githinji

Leonard Githinji
Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist
Sustainable & Urban Agriculture
Virginia State University

Ellington Graves

Ellington Graves
Assistant Provost for Diversity and Inclusion
Director,Africana Studies Program
Virginia Tech

Bobby Grisso

Robert "Bobby" Grisso
Biological Systems Engineering
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Virginia Tech

Kathy Hosig

Kathy Hosig
Associate Professor and Extension Specialist
Population Health Sciences Department
Virginia Tech
Center for Public Health Practice & Research

Max Stephenson

Max Stephenson
Professor and Director of the Institute for Policy and Governance
School of Public and International Affairs
Virginia Tech
Community Change Collaborative


Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Agricultural, leadership, and community education

The Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education is dedicated to advancing the institutional priorities related to community viability by engaging in critical and evaluative social science processes and teaching that address local and global challenges.

Office of Diversity and Inclusion

The Virginia Tech Equity and Social Disparity for the Human Condition team focuses on equity in the human condition, maximizing, wherever possible, the equitable distribution and availability of physical safety and well-being, psychological well-being, and access to crucial material, social, and moral resources.

Community Change Collaborative

The Community Change Collaborative is an interdisciplinary group of students and faculty hosted by the Institute for Policy and Governance (IPG) on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg.  

Center for Public Health Practice and Research Logo

The Center for Public Health Practice and Research (CPHPR) at Virginia Tech partners with an interdisciplinary group of faculty, staff and students at Virginia Tech and community organizations to enhance public health practice and research in the region. 


The Virginia Tech Civic Agriculture and Food Systems Pathways minor embodies a commitment to developing and strengthening an economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable agriculture and food systems.


The Leadership and Social Change Residential College (LSCRC) at Virginia Tech aims to offer students a theoretical foundation combined with the practical knowledge and skills necessary to lead in a complex global environment. 

Homefield Farm's Logo

Homefield Farm is a partnership between Dining Services and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the only certified organic operation owned by a university in Virginia. The six-acre, student-run farm is located eight miles west of the Blacksburg campus and provides about 50,000 pounds of fresh produce to dining centers and Homefield’s farm stand on campus. 

The Catawba Sustainability Center

Virginia Tech’s Catawba Sustainability Center is a 377 acre farm property situated in the beautiful Catawba Valley of Virginia and serves as a living laboratory to advance environmental stewardship and community engagement to provide a learning environment for the research, teaching, and demonstration of sustainable practices in agriculture, forestry, and land management.

Virginia Cooperative Extension

Virginia Cooperative Extension - Community, Local, and Regional Food Systems team was formed by Virginia Cooperative Extension agents and specialists seeking to facilitate innovative and interdisciplinary approaches and collaborations that span the agricultural and food systems landscape in Virginia and beyond. 

Small Farm Outreach Program Logo

The Small Farm Outreach Program (SFOP), a part of Cooperative Extension at Virginia State University, educates and empowers small, limited-resource, socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers.

Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Logo

The Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition (VBFRC) is a state-wide coalition of agricultural organizations and farm businesses. Their long-term goal is to improve opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers. 

AgrAbility Logo

AgrAbility (and AgrAbility Virginia) aims to enhance quality of life for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers with disabilities, so that they, their families, and their communities continue to succeed in rural America.

City Schoolyard Garden logo

City Schoolyard Garden cultivates health, academic exploration, environmental stewardship, equity and community through garden-based, experiential learning and leadership development for Charlottesville youth.

Cultivate Charlottesville's Logo

Cultivate Charlottesville engages with youth and community to build a healthy and just food system. We believe that working together to grow gardens, share food and power, and advocate for just systems – cultivates a healthy community for all. Food is a human right and we aim to create food equity – personally, in community, and across systems and structures. Together we are growing, sharing, and advocating for food equity.

Hale Community Garden Logo

The Hale Community Garden is a five-acre site in Blacksburg, VA that includes 70 community garden plots, a solar greenhouse, beehives, food forest project, small apple orchard, asparagus patch, herb garden, and flowers. 


HARVEST (Helping Agriculture Remain Vital through Engineering Science and Technology) is a Research Coordination Network that brings together scientists from various research disciplines to enhance the productivity and viability of small- and mid-level farms. 

Shalom Farms Logo

Shalom Farms is a regional food access and community development project started in 2008 by United Methodist Urban Ministries of Richmond (UMUMR). 

Virginia Food System Council's Logo

The mission of the Virginia Food System Council is to advance a nutrient-rich, safe, and environmentally sustainable food system for Virginians at all income levels, with an emphasis on access to local food, successful linkages between food producers and consumers, and a healthy, viable future for Virginia’s farmers and farmland.