Virginia Independent Consumers and Farmers Association
Virginians have lost access to many traditional artisanal foods due to burdensome and onerous regulations which inhibit the growth of small home or farm based businesses.
The freedom to purchase the foods of your choice in a sustainable, transparent, local, independent food system, from a food producer who wishes to supply your needs, should be the norm and not something we should have to fight for.
VICFA members and supporters come from all walks of life and from all parts of Virginia. We are a truly grassroots group, and meet quarterly at members homes around the state.
When farmers trade with neighbors accountability is built in, and regulations are not needed. We see people taking responsibility for their basic food needs, without asking permission from government agencies.
Food freedom was unknowingly surrendered over time, and now…
VICFA is taking it back !
A BRIEF HISTORY:
Founded in 2000, Virginia Independent Consumers and Farmers Association was incorporated in April of 2001 as a non-profit corporation, formed by a group of farmers and consumers dedicated to freedom of food choice in Virginia.
Our first President was Matt Cauley of Staunton, followed by Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm, Swoope, Willard Lutz of Conicville Ostrich Farm, Richard Bean of Double H Farm, Wingina, Wayne Bolton of Farmville, and Lois Smith of Partlow. The current President is Anne Buteau of Old Orchard Farm, Shipman.
Come and join us for a meeting and a great lunch! You don’t have to be a member to attend. We have had success in our legislative efforts over the years, but we need you to help us regain even more food freedom in Virginia.
Kathryn Russell: Kathryn was a VICFA founder and board member, an independent dairy farmer, a wife, mother of eight, teacher, mentor, political activist, writer, local food community leader, and a chapter leader for Weston A. Price Foundation. She also launched the Virginia Dairy Agisters Coalition and Shareholder Association, which ceased operating with her untimely death in October 2009. Kathryn’s knowledge and wisdom was immeasurable and she is still missed by those who knew her. She was a vocal advocate for small farm issues in the Virginia General Assembly, as well as in Congress during the opposition to the proposed National Animal Identification Scheme.
John Coles: John was a VICFA founder, board member, food freedom advocate, goat cheese seller and husband to Christine Solem who passed away in April 2010. Virginia lost a wonderful person, a dedicated food freedom supporter and a significant member of the Charlottesville local foodscape. To learn more google “John Coles goat cheese”.
Richard Bean: Richard came south from New England in 1997 with his partner Jean Rinaldi and together they established and operated “Double H Farm” in Nelson County, Virginia until his passing in November 2013. Richard was VICFA president for a number of years, and was a driving force in bringing awareness to issues impeding small scale farmers in Virginia. Richard and Jean are still the only VICFA members to have been arrested in the name of food freedom, and have the incident reported in the Washington Post (10/20/17). Google “Richard Bean Double H Farm” for lots of interesting reading.
Wayne Bolton: Wayne was a longtime VICFA member and president for a number of years, who farmed in Green Bay, Virginia. His passion was to advocate for the rights of the small farmer and he hosted a radio show where he interviewed participants in the local food movement. Wayne was active in his local county Farm Bureau, and never missed an opportunity to enlighten people about the state of food freedom in Virginia. He passed away in June 2017, and his congenial presence is missed by VICFA members who knew him.
VICFA has a dedicated core of volunteers who are passionate about continuing the work of those VICFA founders who are no longer with us. We still have some members from the early days such as former president Joel Salatin, Christine Solem and current president Anne Buteau. Longtime volunteers Suzi Croes (Newsletter Editor and Action Alerts) and Jay Smith(Treasurer) deserve a big thank you, as well as all the other members of the Board of Directors and volunteers who do other essential duties.
Our children are the future of VICFA! Children who have been raised going to the General Assembly since before they could walk. Children that know the importance of freedom and the value of good food and agricultural practices for their health and their community. Children will inherit what we leave behind, but before our passing THEY will also be the voters that the legislators will have to charm. Many are from the independent thinking homeschool community, as evidenced this 2018 session at the Virginia General Assembly. Over 100 Virginians, including many families, came to show their opposition to SB962 Sen. Mark Obenshain’s herdshare regulatory bill, which thankfully failed to pass out of committee.