The RVA Food Collaborative (RVAFC) brings together the hundreds of people and dozens of organizations and businesses across our region working to improve our food system. We focus on food system localization, closing the hunger gap, and improving food access. Through regular meetings and information sharing, RVAFC members established the Capital Area Farmers Market Association, a collaboration among 20 markets, that launched the Back to the Market campaign and held three pop-up markets and community fairs in underserved “food deserts” in Richmond and Goochland County.
The RVAFC secured a $100K grant from the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation for a mobile farmers market. The food system localization subgroup adopted the name Real Local RVA and is launching a local food branding campaign, as well as a comprehensive local food guide listing all restaurants, farms, grocers, markets, and other businesses where consumers can purchase local food. The Food Access Task Force, housed at the Richmond City Health District, has secured funding through the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to conduct a gap analysis for food access in Richmond, and fund the Healthy Corner Store program. RVAFC members also work to promote regional priorities at the state level through the Virginia Food System Council and the Commonwealth Council on Bridging the Nutritional Divide.
This example of regional collaboration not only brings together multiple partners, but also crosses both our Healthy Community and Social Stability priority areas. Contact us if you have a collaborative story to share.