Roanoke Foodshed Network Boosts Food Access

In a significant stride towards promoting food access and sustainable agriculture, the Roanoke Foodshed Network (RFN), in collaboration with the United Way’s Healthy Roanoke Valley, has granted $20,000 to local nonprofits and schools in the Roanoke region. This generous funding, made possible by the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth’s Healthy Communities Action Teams (HCAT) grant, aims to address food system challenges and empower communities to make healthier choices. Let’s look closer at the organizations that will benefit from this grant and the impact they intend to create.

The Winners

Eight deserving organizations in the Roanoke region have been selected to receive funding from RFN:

  • Virginia Cooperative Extension
  • One Valley Inc.
  • Feeding Southwest Virginia
  • Highland Park Elementary School
  • Lick Run Community Development Corporation
  • Local Environmental Agriculture Project (LEAP)
  • YMCA of Virginia’s Blue Ridge
  • Cave Spring Elementary School PTA

The Funding Source:

The financial support stems from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth’s (VFHY) HCAT grant, which focuses on empowering youth to make healthy choices, including reducing and preventing substance use and childhood obesity. VFHY’s comprehensive approach reaches 50,000 children annually, contributing to the overall well-being of the community.

Impactful Programs

The funding will play a pivotal role in sustaining and expanding various programs to enhance food access and education in the Roanoke region. For instance, the Taste-It program at Cave Spring Elementary School allows students to explore new fruits and vegetables, learn about their cultivation, and take home recipes for further exploration. Since its inception in 2021, students have tried an array of fresh produce, fostering healthy eating habits from a young age.

President and CEO of YMCA of Virginia’s Blue Ridge, Mark Johnson expressed excitement about expanding programs like Rise 540, a youth workforce development initiative. This program equips teens with entrepreneurial skills and integrates nutrition education, including cooking classes that promote nutrition, food safety, diversity, and nutritious food choices.

Building Sustainable Gardens

Shawn Jadrnicek, agriculture and natural resource agent of Virginia Cooperative Extension, highlighted that the funding will support the development, maintenance, and support of school and youth gardens in the Roanoke region. This initiative aims to educate and nourish children by involving them in the process of growing their own food.

The Roanoke Foodshed Network

Founded in 2020, RFN emerged from conversations among farmers, planners, and local food advocates. The network, supported by LEAP and various partners, seeks to build community and capacity to address food systems change in the Roanoke region. Their goals include promoting sustainable farm development, local food distribution, equitable food access, and leveraging local food for economic growth.

The $20,000 grant from the Roanoke Foodshed Network is a commendable effort to strengthen local food systems, enhance food access, and educate communities about healthy eating habits. As these organizations implement and expand their programs, the impact will reverberate throughout the Roanoke region, fostering a healthier, more sustainable future for all. The collaborative efforts of RFN, supported by the generosity of VFHY and other partners, exemplify the positive change that can be achieved when communities come together to address vital issues.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *