Restoring Local Food Systems — An educational seminar series in Charlottesville

Jessica Palmer
The Piedmont Environmental Council
Buy Fresh Buy Local Coordinator
434-977-2033 ext. 24

Restoring Local Food Systems — An educational seminar series in Charlottesville

Though the local food movement has picked up momentum in our region, there are still a number of challenges that local food producers and distributors face as they try to create a sustainable local food economy. Last January, The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) hosted a work session for their Buy Fresh Buy Local chapters in Charlottesville, Loudoun, and the Northern Piedmont. The goal was to provide a space in which local food providers could bring up a topic of interest, meet others who are interested in a similar issue, and then take part in constructive conversations and strategic planning centered around a plan of action.

Bill Calvani and KeriAn Dodson of Charlottesville’s Rebecca’s Natural Food attended PEC’s workshop session, and they teamed up with John Whiteside of Wolf Creek Farm and Susan Vidal of Brightwood Vineyard & Farm. Their plan focused on how to better educate consumers about the local food system, and they are turning words into action. The group is organizing a seminar series at Rebecca’s that will start July 10th. The objective of their “Restoring Local Food Systems” series is to have local producers, processors and experts share their experiences in preserving and rebuilding their portion of the local food system.

“In an area rich with local and artisanal food production, we’re thrilled to play a part in bringing consumers and producers together to exchange information,” says Calvani, Rebecca’s Grocery Manager. “We think it’s important to close the loop in local buying. This series will not only help people understand where our food comes from, but also the work that our producers do to bring us honest food. We hope this series will inspire people and help renew the commitment to buy local.”

The Series Schedule:

Wednesday, July 10th, 6:30-7:30PM:

Agricultural Landscape of the Piedmont

Sue Ellen Johnson, Piedmont Environmental Council

Tuesday, July 30th, 6:30-7:30PM:
Brewing Culture: How to Make Kombucha
Ethan Zuckerman, Barefoot Bucha

Tuesday, August 6th. 6:30-7:30PM:
Farming with Fungal Allies (Mushrooms!)
Mark Jones, Sharondale Farm

Wednesday, August 21, 6:30-7:30PM:
The Big Picture of a Small Farm
Erica Hellen, Free Union Grass Farm

Tuesday, September 10th, 6:30-7:30PM:
Local Food–Getting Your Money’s Worth
Susan & Dean Vidal, Brightwood Vineyards & Farm

Thursday, September 19th, 6:30-7:30PM:
Our Kitchen is Your Kitchen: Local Resources for Food Processing and Packing
Allie Hill, Virginia Food Works

All talks will be held at Rebecca’s Natural Food in the Barracks Road Shopping Center (1141 Emmet Street, Charlottesville, VA).  Check the events page, Rebecca’s Natural Food Facebook page, or PEC’s Buy Fresh Buy Local Facebook page for more information.