Webinar: Strengthening the Local Food System

Join PEC staff for a look at the importance of local farms and food during the Covid-19 pandemic. This webinar was recorded on June 5, 2020.

The impact Covid-19 has had on our food system is unprecedented. Food banks and pantries are working to meet the increased need of the community due to record levels of unemployment. Farmers are facing uncertain markets due to the loss of institutional, organizational and restaurant contracts, as well as restrictions on farmers markets. Nationwide, meat shortages are predicted due to the closure of industrial processing facilities.

Thankfully, there is light within these dark times. There is an increasing awareness of just how important a local, sustainable food system is. Farmers and other producers, along with nonprofit organizations are figuring out new and innovative ways to meet this growing demand. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs throughout the region have expanded their capacity in order to meet consumer demand. Farmers have adapted by launching online portals and diving into e-commerce in a way we have not previously seen. Farmers markets have adjusted their practices to stay open while keeping customers safe.

During this webinar, you will hear from a panel of PEC staff who are working diligently to strengthen our local food systems in Virginia’s Piedmont region in a variety of ways. Speakers and topics: ⁠

  • John McCarthy, Senior Advisor & Director of Strategic Partnerships
    • Working collaboratively with strong, effective local food groups (both private and non-profit) such as 4P Foods in Vint Hill, the Local Food Hub in Charlottesville and the American Farmland Trust to reinforce local farmers’ efforts to sustain their operations and make them thrive
    • Assessing the availability of localized meat processing and storage, and the marketing challenges that local meat producers face ⁠
  • Matt Coyle, Buy Fresh Buy Local Coordinator & Outreach Assistant
  • Dana Melby, Community Farm Manager
    • Continuing our on-the-ground work at PEC’s Community Farm at Roundabout Meadows to grow more food for those most in need in Loudoun County. https://www.pecva.org/farm
  • Mike Kane, Director of Conservation
    • The role of farmland protection and land access in fostering a sustainable local food system
    • Partnering with the Loudoun Valley Homegrown Market Cooperative to improve our weekend Gilberts Corner Market and provide a pickup point for other local food vendors

Join us as we dive deeper into this topic, answer questions, and share how you can get involved!