Farmland and forests produce the necessities of life and provide essential natural services. In PEC's nine county area, over 180,000 acres of farmland and 140,000 acres of forests are protected through private, voluntary land conservation.
PEC's Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign helps consumers find local products while building relationships between growers, food artisans, farmers’ markets retailers, restaurants, and institutions.
Use our Buy Fresh Buy Local website to find farms, grocers, caterers, restaurants, CSAs, and farmers markets.
Agriculture is by far Virginia's largest industry, contributing $55 billion annually to the state's economy and providing more than 357,000 jobs. Yet Virginia ranks 11th among the states for the amount of prime agricultural land lost annually, with more than 20,000 acres going out of production each year. And no wonder: the average farmer is nearly 60 years old and has a net farm income of less than $9,000.
Fortunately, there are a growing number of beginning farmers, inspired by consumer demand for fresh, healthy, local foods in Virginia. These new farmers face significant challenges, however, when trying to establish a successful agricultural business.
The following articles appeared in PEC's Membership Newsletter -- The Piedmont View