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Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, and Virginia Food System Council seek participants in food system survey

BLACKSBURG, Va., April 1, 2011 – Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, and the Virginia Food System Council invite stakeholders in Virginia’s food system to share their views on how to support local farmers and grow Virginia’s food and farm economy.

The online survey aims to improve and strengthen Virginia’s local, regional, and statewide food system and business sectors.

“The results of the survey will be incorporated into a comprehensive Virginia farm-to-table plan that will inform and integrate research development, extension education, policy, and funding recommendations and strategies,” said Eric Bendfeldt, community viability area specialist for Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Northwest District.

The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete and will be open until April 11. All information will remain strictly confidential and will not be shared with any business or other institution. Survey participants do not have to answer every question and involvement in this survey is completely voluntary. Individual responses will not be identifiable in the data released to the public. A written report of the survey results will be made available on the Virginia Cooperative Extension and Virginia Food System Council websites.

In addition to the survey, the sponsoring organizations have planned Virginia Food System and Farm-to-Table Forums in late March and mid-April to determine priorities for strengthening local, regional, and statewide food systems, and are holding listening sessions across the state to gain more public input and participation on this topic.

Funding for this survey is provided by Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Integrated Internal Competitive Grants Program as part of a Virginia Food System Research and Extension Initiative to Strengthen Virginia’s Agricultural Economic Vitality and Community Viability for Farm-to-Table.

For more information, contact Eric Bendfeldt at (540) 432-6029 ext. 106 or Crystal Tyler-Mackey at (804) 524-5494.

Virginia Cooperative Extension brings the resources of Virginia's land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to the people of the commonwealth. Through a system of on-campus specialists and locally based educators, it delivers education in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, community viability, and 4-H youth development. With a network of faculty at two universities, 107 county and city offices, 11 agricultural research and Extension centers, and six 4-H educational centers, Virginia Cooperative Extension provides solutions to the problems facing Virginians today.