To create healthy, food-secure communities and strong, equitable regional food systems by ensuring fresh and local produce is accessible and affordable for all.
Virginia Community Food Connections (VCFC) brings together organizations including small farmers markets, local nonprofits, and key stakeholders to address food security, farmer viability, and affordable access to fresh produce. To make fresh food more equitable and affordable, VCFC operates the following programs throughout the region:
- SNAP and Virginia Fresh Match: Enables SNAP recipients to use their benefits at area farmers markets and get additional healthy, locally-grown free fruits and vegetables. SIGN UP NOW, to receive emails about where and when VFM benefits are available.
- WIC Veggie Vouchers: Provides free fruits and vegetables to young families.
- Farm to Pantry: Distributes produce to low-income households through emergency food pantries and community service organizations.
- Fredericksburg Food Access Forum: Facilitates regular connections among organizations working on food access and food security.
After operating for five years as a program of the George Washington Regional Commission in Planning District 16, VCFC was established as a nonprofit in 2015. VCFC has offered SNAP and nutrition incentives at farmers markets across PD 16 for more than 12 years and in Prince William County for the last seven years.
Today, VCFC is considered a leading food access practitioner in the state, representing 25% of all SNAP sales and nutrition incentives distributed at Virginia farmers markets.
She buys her produce by the box when she can because it is more economical. Today she is buying a big bag of assorted hot and sweet peppers to make a fermented chili pepper relish. She explains that last week, she fully stocked up on vegetables, so this week, with the last of her SNAP & Virginia Fresh Match benefits, she is purchasing a box of apples and other fruit to make mead, cider, and other fruit ferments.
Rose has been using her SNAP benefits at the farmers market for almost 3 years. As a single mother of 4 growing children, she explains that “it has made a big difference in how I am able to shop and feed my family. At the farmers market, I use SNAP tokens to purchase the reasonably priced but higher quality meats, and all of the matching tokens go towards buying fresh vegetables. Using my benefits at the market has been a big-budget saving, significantly increasing the amount of produce I can afford, and everyone is eating better.”