This partnership project aims to explore and build capacity for a regional food system in the Roanoke Valley of Southwest Virginia. The project’s goal is to collectively learn about and address the needs of sustainable farm development, local food distribution, equitable food access, and to develop a comprehensive approach to create a more resilient, socially just, and economically viable food system in this underserved region. 

The Center is supporting the project by 1) facilitating community storytelling about food farming, and community in the region, 2) offering "Food and Farm Connections" trainings that build connections and collaborative capacity among partners and value chain entities, 3) facilitating a community-based assessment of current and potential producer-buyer relationships, distribution and delivery opportunities, market access needs, and farmer coordination, and 4) organizing learning exchange field visits and facility tours of other regional food systems.  

The project is funded by USDA‐AMS Regional Food System Partnership grant and led by Local Environmental Agriculture Project (LEAP), a Roanoke-based 501 (c)3 non-profit organization.