This partnership project, newly named the Roanoke Foodshed Network, 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.

Learning Exchanges

Fall 2022 Series Archive

The Fall 2022 Learning Exchange Series ran from October 2022 to January 2023 and provided an opportunity for us to feature food systems leaders in the Roanoke Foodshed. In these virtual discussions, speakers share briefly about their work, then engage in a moderated dialogue, and share responses to questions from the audience. Recordings are available for each session below.

  • Healthy Food Futures For All: Values-based Perspectives and Connections in the Roanoke Valley (October 5, 2022)
    Amazetta Anderson of the George Washington Carver Gardens
    Rachel Burks of Carilion Clinic Planning and Community Development
    Listen to the RECORDING
  • Growing a Culture of Resiliency and Cooperation: Urban Food Justice Possibilities (November 9, 2022)
    Cameron Terry of Garden Variety Harvest
    Davey Rogner Stewards of the Harvest Collective
    Listen to the RECORDING
  • Cultivating Care from the Ground Up: From Mobile Markets to Community Art (December 7, 2022) 
    Bernadette (BJ) Lark of CommUnity Arts Reach
    Kelly Key of the Local Environmental Agriculture Project (LEAP)
    Connie Smith of the Local Environmental Agriculture Project (LEAP)
    Listen to the RECORDING
  • Regenerative Food Production: Healthy Soil, Ecosystems, and Communities (January 18, 2023)
    Anna and Brent Wills of Bramble Hollow Farm
    Adam Taylor of the Virginia Tech Catawba Sustainability Center
    Listen to the RECORDING

Spring 2022 Series Archive

The Spring 2022 Learning Exchange Series ran from January to April, 2022 and featured food systems leaders from adjacent regions who have a depth of experience with food systems change. We invite you to listen to the recordings below.

  • Food Policy Structures and Governance: A Regional Food System Planning Perspective (January 2022)
    Speakers: Karen Bassarab, of Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, and Dr. Becca Jablonski of Colorado State University
    Lisent to the RECORDING
  • Asset-based Food Economies in Appalachian Ohio:  A Focus on Rural Resiliency (February 2022)
    Speakers: Tom Redfern of Rural Action and Leslie Schaller of the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet)
    Listen to the RECORDING
  • Food Policy Council Possibilities: Stories of Success and Lessons Learned from the Bottom Up (March 2022)
    Speakers: Gini Knight of Community Food Strategies and Jesse Rosenblum of Western NC Community Food Justice Planning Committee
    Listen to the RECORDING
  • Local Food and Farming Systems in Western North Carolina:  Building Connections from Farms to Markets to Schools (April 2022)
    Speaker: Molly Nicolie, Executive Director of Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP)
    Listen to the RECORDING