NE TN/SW VA Food System Working Group Action Plans

– May 2015
Working Group Guidelines
 Enhance the connectivity and capacity of the key food systems actors in your
issue area
 Identify and target critical capacity gaps in your issue area
 Coordinate information and resources
Food and Health Systems Working Group
Chair/Co-Chairs: Jessica Arney, Elizabeth Hall
WG goal statement: To promote and increase access to locally grown healthy
foods and to coordinate a consistent message of health and nutrition which will be
available to high risk populations and communities who are receiving services
throughout the region.
Desired outcome(s):
 To increase the awareness of the relationship between food, nutrition and
health.
 To prepare community members for emergent food situations through
education and assistance with food storage, preservation, meal planning and
growing.
Major activities/outputs (besides routine WG meetings):
 To create a series of educational bookmarks to cover basic health, food and
nutrition topics which will be distributed in various settings across the region.
Topics may include: food utilization, seasonal produce, food budgeting, meal
planning, etc. These educational materials would also list resources available
to populations of high risk/need (WIC, food bank, mobile food pantry, 211).
 To bring organizations together where high risk populations may be to provide
services; thus decreasing the transportation issues experienced by much of
our high risk population. (ex: providing WIC or HD services at mobile food
pantry sites)
 To create a calendar of events which would be available to all involved
organizations so outreach can be more easily coordinated.
Who


are your ultimate beneficiaries (explain how they will benefit):
Consumers throughout the region
Healthcare recipients
People in emergency food situations

Collaboration opportunities with other WGs (name WG and opportunity)
 Food Access—collaborate to help clients who are seeking food assistance to
provide information on stable housing, stable food supply, jobs, nutrition
education to increase their stability in emergent situations. Increase
knowledge of food storage (canning, freezing).
 Food Production, Marketing, Distribution—to promote local growing,
community/family gardens through education of resources available. To
support efforts of collaborate with farmers to promote gleaning.

NE TN/SW VA Food System Working Group Action Plans
– May 2015
How will this WG meet/communicate to plan, implement, and report on
activities?
 We plan to meet again in December to begin work on the educational
materials to increase awareness of health, nutrition and food to provide the
common message for consumers.
 We communicate through a Facebook group and via email.
Policy & Econ Dev Working Group
Chair/Co-Chairs: Kathlyn Terry & Tony Delucia
WG goal statement: To understand the policies that need to be moved or changed
and how to change them in order to increase consumer demand for local, healthy
food; ensure access to healthy food for all segments of the population; and promote
agriculture as a viable economic development strategy.
Desired outcome(s): The region becomes “policy-wise” and is able to influence
policy makers. Policies are in place that are:
 Favorable towards SNAP/WIC, schools, institutional buyers, workplaces, etc.
 Support local farmers and give preference to locally produced goods
 Influence grocery store locations and address food deserts
 Inclusive of all segments of the population
Major activities/outputs (besides routine WG meetings): Become “policy
wise” by:
 Gathering and sharing best practices (and lessons learned) that have resulted
in successful policy changes
 Identifying who does the best work policy change work in the region
o Existing VT and Chesapeake Foodshed Network lists
o Ensuring TN and VA policy makers are given equal attention
 Working with Johns Hopkins and the Chesapeake Foodshed Network to
develop and deliver a webinar or series of webinars on policy best practices
 Explore opportunities to engage available College of Medicine intern (300
hours) and Service Learning opportunities
 Consider sending WG member to Policy Link (or other) conferences to gain
deeper knowledge on the best approaches to use in our region
 Review policy maps on Community Commons to narrow our focus
 Develop a logic model that drives what we want to accomplish
 Develop common language and messaging
Who are your ultimate beneficiaries (explain how they will benefit):
 At the highest level, the beneficiaries of this WG are farmers and consumers.
As the work evolves there will be more definition around the beneficiary
groups.
 The WG will ensure that the economic development beneficiaries (e.g.
farmers and food entrepreneurs) are not overlooked.
Collaboration opportunities with other WGs (name WG and opportunity):
 This WG can and should connect with all other working groups, playing a
supporting role, particularly around policy. To ensure that we are all learning

NE TN/SW VA Food System Working Group Action Plans
– May 2015
together, a feedback mechanism between this WG and others would need to
be established.
How will this WG meet/communicate to plan, implement, and report on
activities?
 Given the significant geographic distance of committee members, the group
agreed that often we will work via conference calls. However, because we
also see great value in face-to-face interactions, we agreed to meet in the
near future when we have more actionable items that would make it
necessary.
What support does this WG need from the Planning Team?
 This WG will rely heavily on the Planning Team to connect our policy efforts
with the efforts of the other groups.
Food Production Working Group
Chair/Co-Chairs: Tamara McNaughton, Elizabeth Malayter
WG goal statement: To promote local food in our region through support to
farmers and outreach to consumers.
Desired outcome(s):
 Unified branding for local food in NETN/SWVA
 Evidence based methods for doing consumer education and outreach
 Farmer education to increase number of farmers and improve profitability,
including skills training, market trends, GAP certification, financials and
business planning.
Major activities/outputs (besides routine WG meetings):
 Expand on the Rooted in Appalachia brand by printing and selling packaging
materials to area producers
 Establish monthly product themes for 2016 and promote them to consumers
through farmers markets and other outlets.
 Come up with a strategy to certify retail and restaurant outlets that sell local
goods, to improve consumer recognition of the Rooted in Appalachia brand.
Create decals or stickers that retail and restaurant outlets can use.
Who are your ultimate beneficiaries (explain how they will benefit):
 Farmers, farmers markets, restaurant--improve business and profitability
through increased sales as a result of consumer confidence in a local food
brand
Collaboration opportunities with other WGs (name WG and opportunity):
 Health WG: Help with educating healthcare patients about the importance of
fresh food, possibly an initiative to subsidize healthcare recipients to access
food at farmers markets.

NE TN/SW VA Food System Working Group Action Plans
– May 2015
Workforce Development Working Group
Co-Chairs: Emily Bidgood, Executive Director, Appalachian RC&D Council
Sally Causey, Executive Director, Rural Resources
WG goal statement: Enhance the connectivity of programs that train in
agriculture and other local food work through secondary schools, higher education,
and nonprofits so that all may have greater success inspiring and equipping food
system entrepreneurs. (The WG also promotes that life skills learned through
agriculture can serve any career.)
Desired outcome(s):
 "Directory"-like documentation of such programs, shared with all for future
communication.
 Programs have had opportunity to visit each other in arranged "field trips" of
best practices.
 Inspire progress in existing programs and initiate new programs.
 Training is being provided for WG stakeholders "practitioners" around food
policy and economic development education, consumer education.
 More youth and new learners are securing jobs that require agriculturerelated skills.
 Grant and government funds are flowing into TN & VA, with elected/public
official support, for agricultural and local food workforce development:
entrepreneurship, training, internships, etc.
Major activities/outputs (besides routine WG meetings):
 Bring FFA high school teachers and FFA-state program staff into the RCDI
Working Group (none were present at 2015 Connectivity Meeting).
 Hire a 10-week AmeriCorps summer associate (June-August 2016) to compile
a directory and write profile stories for Workforce Development programs.
 AmeriCorps intern and Co-Chairs will work with working with high school
programs and nonprofits to arrange a short series of "field visits" for RCDI
Working Group stakeholders to showcase best practices on agricultural
training in the region (Tennessee examples: Johnson Aquaponics; ChuckeyDoak Farm; Unaka & Drop Collaborative; Rural Resources; Foodtopia Johnson
City...), as well as field visits for Kitchens (example: Unicoi Kitchen, Southwest
Virginia Higher Ed Culinary Program, Rural Resources Kitchen).
 Review southwest VA's Lenowisco agriculture strategic plan and determine its
relevance for wider region and other planning districts.
 Contact the national/state FFA organization, TN & VA AmeriCorps programs,
and Bonner Scholars to explore establishing a food systems internship
program for (disadvantaged, rural, target population) youth.
Who are your ultimate beneficiaries (explain how they will benefit):
 The institutions/organizations that provide training (schools, higher ed,
nonprofits), are strengthened in their capacity.
 The youth and learners who are trained through those organizations receive
better training and are more prepared for careers.

NE TN/SW VA Food System Working Group Action Plans
– May 2015
Collaboration opportunities with other WGs (name WG and opportunity)
 Connect with Economic and Policy to legitimize food/ag entrepreneurship in
the larger workforce development push.
How will this WG meet/communicate to plan, implement, and report on
activities?
 WG will call together meeting in early summer 2016.
 AmeriCorps intern and Co-Chairs will work with working with high school
programs and nonprofits to arrange a short series of "field visits" for RCDI
Working Group stakeholders to showcase best practices in the region in
summer and fall 2016.
What support does this WG need from the Planning Team?
 Financial support for AmeriCorps intern/s and field trips.
Food Access Working Group
*Action plan in development