Virginia Food Systems Council


The Virginia Food System Council’s mission is to work to advance a nutrient-rich and safe food system for Virginians at all income levels, with an emphasis on access to local food, successful linkages between food producers and consumers, and a healthy, viable future for Virginia’s farmers and farmland. Specifically included in our mission are the following:

  1. To address and strengthen Virginia’s food system in a comprehensive, system-wide and holistic manner by bringing together a wide variety of organizations and interests to examine and identify opportunities for improving the food system for all Virginians.
  2. To develop education, policy recommendations, and implementation strategies to improve the availability and accessibility of healthy, nutritious food for all Virginians.
  3. To partner with and build the capacity of agencies, organizations, individuals and communities to address local, regional, and state food and agriculture issues that relate to food availability and accessibility.
  4. To educate and communicate to the public and key decision-makers the relationship of the food system to health, economic development, natural resources, and social well-being.
  5. To encourage and create stronger links between farmers and consumers through efficient processing, storage, distribution, marketing, and education systems.
  6. To assist and promote the development of local enterprises and business entities that support community-based food production and consumption.
  7. To be a communications channel for and with existing local and regional food work groups or councils.

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Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore


SEVA New Logo


Since 1981, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, a member of Feeding America™ and the Federation of Virginia Food Banks, has been providing food for hungry people throughout Southeastern Virginia and on the Eastern Shore. In our mission to lead the effort to eliminate hunger in our community, the Foodbank has distributed over 272 million pounds of food equating to over 226.8 million meals throughout our 4,745 square mile service area, which includes the cities of Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Franklin and Virginia Beach as well as the counties of Southampton, Northampton, Sussex, Isle of Wight and Accomack. During the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the Foodbank distributed over 18.6 million pounds of food equating to 15.5 million meals to the community.

Smoking Foods


I have over the years growing up in NC and VA developed a passion for quality smoked food.  I believe that if something is properly prepared and smoked your taste buds cannot be offended.  Now with that being  said the wife and I typically  experience  disappointment the majority of the time when we visit smokehouses.  She jokingly says I blame you as I have created the expectation of good food that cannot be achieved elsewhere. I want to say that I am not a professional or by any way try to state this.  I simply follow some basic guidelines when I smoke. The number 1 offence we find is over cooking the food.  I am not sure if the food is cooked properly then pulled or chopped tossed on a warming table and continues to cook and dry out however regardless dry meat IMO is not a desirable thing. When I smoke meat there is one basic simple process that I always follow.  I have a moisture pan in the smoker.  This provides a moist smoke to allow the meat to remain moist and also I think the smoke takes on a quality of its own.  Now I do not use water in the pan.  I use different juices.  My primary is apple juice which provide along with the hickory a hint of apple to the meats final taste without overpowering it with “smoke”  I will also add different items to the drip pan to add to the season of the smoke like garlic or other spices that complement that style of meat.  Then I plan my day around smoking and set aside 12 to 14 hours of my life to being around the smoker so that there is a constant temperature of 225 to 250 in the smoker.  Monitor the meat temperature to around 180 degrees also ensure it is not burned or dried out. I also find that many times the food it in my opinion over seasoned.  Yes I grew up in the land of vinegar based BBQ however you need to taste and enjoy every part of the meal.  This is simple as you should not be overwhelmed by the vinegar or the or the paprika etc.  You should be able to taste every component evenly.  There should not be anything that overpowers the other to the point of not tasting anything else.  I find many sauces overwhelming the taste also.  I use BBQ sauce however it is not soaked in the sauce again overpowering the meat or other elements of the meal.  As this section develops I hope that we can provide everyone with a good understanding of what needs to take place to have a great meal.