SB 854 (Petersen) sought to create the Virginia Urban Agriculture Advisory Council as an advisory council in the executive branch of state government. The purpose of the Council is to encourage urban agriculture and to contribute to building a local food economy, thereby benefiting Virginia by creating jobs, stimulating statewide economic development, circulating money from local food sales within communities, preserving open space, decreasing the use of fossil fuels and the production of carbon emissions, preserving and protecting the natural environment, increasing consumer access to fresh and nutritious foods, and providing greater food security for all Virginians.
As designed, the Advisory Council would consist of 23 members. Three members – the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) or his designee, the State Health Commissioner or his designee, and the Secretary of Commerce and Trade or his designee – would serve ex officio with voting privileges. The other 20 members would be non-legislative citizen members and would include representatives from the Virginia Association of Counties as well as other relevant stakeholder groups.
VACo is supportive of SB 854 and is eager to work with the Patron and support the legislation next session.
VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.