SWCD, Board of Supervisors, and Local Producers Connect Over Food

Local relationships are critically important to the success of your local SWCD. In order to build local government and SWCD collaborations, in 2012 the Hanover-Caroline SWCD, in partnership with the Hanover Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE), started the ‘50 Mile Meal’ an event that brings together agriculture and conservation, with local decision makers to build relationships, educate, and network.

The Hanover-Caroline SWCD was aware that the local Board of Supervisors held afternoon/evening meetings that provide a time to break for dinner, and decided to use that timeslot as an educational opportunity. The 50 Mile Meal invites local producers to provide a prepared dish for an informal meal with Board of Supervisor members. H-CSWCD also invites the county administrator and assistant administrators to attend.  Likewise producers, H-CSWCD staff and directors, and VCE all attend. The Three Rivers 4-H club has been a large part of the event also by creating placemats depicting agriculture, providing cups and sharing a wonderful exhibit display.

“The occasion gets producers together with local officials and keeps the districts in the minds and hopefully the hearts of the county” said Hanover-Caroline staffer Ann Edmonds.

The 50 Mile Meal has also received lots of praise from the county administrator and the Board of Supervisors. Hanover-Caroline SWCD received the following feedback after the event “The food and conversation were excellent and we learned something as well. The Board of Supervisors really
enjoyed it and wanted me to pass along their gratitude to you and the SWCD Board members as well. Please also pass along our thanks to the Producers as well – it is very eye opening to see all the items produced in Hanover and within 50 miles.”
We encourage your SWCD to build relationships through out of the box events such as this one. If you have an example to share related to how your SWCD enhances local relationships please share with VASWCD staff. If you have questions about the Hanover-Caroline 50 Mile Meal, contact Ann Edmonds. Materials used by Hanover-Caroline  to promote the 50 Mile Meal can be found on the VASWCD Website at vaswcd.org/newsletter.