Virginia Free Farm | Cultivating Food Security for at Risk Virginians Through Economic Enhancement for Small Farmers

We work to promote food sovereignty & social equity through systems designed to reward holistic and sustainable practices by small farmers.

We have chosen Virginia to implement our actionable plan because it is our home state, and we wish to improve the overall fabric of our community, & strengthen food security for those around us. Both my co-founder of the nonprofit and I served in the military, and were at various times stationed in Virginia, and we eventually settled here together on a farm in a rural county outside Richmond, VA. The county we are located in currently has a food insecurity rate of 22%, double the national average.

Having run a small farm since 2008 I saw first hand the struggles of those in the farming community to market themselves and turn a profit. I worked off farm as a nurse, and medic because it was difficult and risky to put all my energy into farming. Virginia has around 46,000 farms, many of which are struggling to provide their owners with income and therefore this is the perfect place to test our model. We want to organize these farms to collectively bargain for a better future through strong local food systems, a community safety net, and integrating technology such as aquaculture & hydroponics.

Additionally, having lived for several years as a single mother I fought regularly with fear of being able to provide adequately for my children & make good food choices for them. Cost and access can play major roles in single parent households, especially those headed by single mothers. These issues can impact families in profound ways, mentally, physically, and socioeconomically. These challenges can be easily mitigated by our creative means to improving access, reducing farm food waste, improving return for small farms, while educating our clients. 

This model is being implemented locally, however, I believe it can be replicated and implemented anywhere & adapted to a regions needs.

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