The University of Virginia Food Collaborative works to promote research, teaching, and community engagement around issues of food, agriculture and sustainability. Established in January 2010, the Collaborative includes faculty, staff, students, and community members. Current faculty and student research focuses on farmers markets, schoolyard gardens, food deserts, local food heritage, and other topics. The Food Collaborative sponsors talks, panels, and film screenings, and provides a focal point for University and community efforts to study and improve regional and local food systems.

To learn more about the Food Collaborative’s activities, read our Year in Review for 2010-2011 and 2011-2012.

UVa Food Collaborative Steering Committee

Wendy Cohn (School of Medicine, Hereford College)
Tanya Denckla Cobb (Institute for Environmental Negotiation, School of Architecture)
Lynda Fanning (Charlottesville community)
Paul Freedman (Department of Politics)about
Manuel Lerdau (Environmental Sciences)
Beth Meyer (Dean of the Architecture School)
Willis Jenkins (Department of Religious Studies)
Stacy Miller (Charlottesville community)
Laura Brown (Local Food Hub)
Allie Arnold (Institute for Environmental Negotiation)

Recent Initiatives

Virginia Food Systems Leadership Institute
A focused interdisciplinary program to foster future food systems leaders. Scheduled to launch its first cohort in June 2018, the VFSLI is a three-credit summer course open to anyone, at any age, though targeting undergraduate and graduate students at collaborating universities including George Mason University, University of Virginia, James Madison University, and Virginia Tech. 

Interdisciplinary Farmers’ Market Research Group
The UVa Farmers Market Research Group is coordinated by the Office of the Vice President for Research as part of the UVa Food Collaborative and includes faculty, grad students, and undergraduates from seven departments, along with representatives from Market Central, the Farmers Market Coalition, and other organizations. We meet regularly to discuss research questions and data collection methods. At present, the Charlottesville City Market is our case study; we are interested in expanding our case studies to include additional markets in the region. Our objectives include designing valid and reliable measures of market success and developing a set of data-gathering and data-visualization tools that will enable researchers to gather data on farmers markets across the region and around the nation and contribute to improved farmers markets management and policy.

Morven Summer Institute
The Morven Summer Institute is an innovative summer program offered by the University of Virginia using the historic 3,000-acre Morven Farm as a laboratory for integrative research-based learning. For more information, please click here.

Virginia Food Security Summit
On December 5th and 6th, 2011, farm, food, health and environment advocates met in Charlottesville to plan for the future of food security in Virginia. A summary of events and report from the summit are available here.

Virginia Food Heritage Project
The Virginia Food Heritage Project is a collaborative, community-based project that envisions a greater understanding and documentation of our food heritage to enhance our regional sustainability and resilience. For more information, please click here.

UVa Food Collaborative at the Virginia Film Festival
The UVa Food Collaborative co-sponsored a showing of food-related films at the 2011 Virginia Film Festival. A showing of Farmegeddon featured a discussion with Joel Salatin (Polyface Farm) and Paul Freedman (UVa). For more information, please click here.