Food System Resources: New River Valley Connected Resources

Information about food systems, including current endeavors connected to Virginia Tech and the New River Valley community.

The town of Blacksburg is located on a plateau between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains as a part of Montgomery County in the heart of Southwest Virginia, commonly known as the New River Valley (NRV). As a small part of a larger region, we hope to serve our community members; students, local residents, family, and friends, with all the positive and sustainable resources in the NRV and help each member to discover a substantial role in the larger picture of the food system. 

The NRV includes Floyd, Giles, Pulaski, and Montgomery counties, and Radford City.

The NRV website details all the great things about living in the New River Valley. You can read a pamphlet on the agribusiness and food processing that occurs in the NRV, here.

Community Gardens and Education Programs

NRV Master Gardeners is an educational gardening program that works on community projects, teaches the community how to use sustainable horticulture practices, and provides grants to those inside and outside the program to create their own projects. 

Hale Community Garden is a model of community development in Blacksburg engaging Virginia Tech students, community members, and local organizations.  Their mission is dedicated to a strong community, a healthy ecological environment, educational opportunities, and food sovereignty. 

Wong Park Community Garden is a Blacksburg community garden that allows community members to rent a space plot and garden here. The main mission is to bring the community together through gardening!

Radford Community Garden is a city community garden that allows community members to apply for a plot in the garden. Then each person accepted into the program may garden for the summer months with help from the local farmers keeping up the land.

Virginia Cooperative Extension is a program through Virginia Tech with the mission to bring the knowledge and resources from the university to the people of our commonwealth. The main goal is the make the educational outreach programs available to everyone. 

Hahn Horticulture Garden is a Virginia Tech ran garden but open for the public to enjoy its beautiful scenery. With many events, their mission is to enlighten both youth and adults of our community through many educational programs.


Hanh Horticulture Gardens 

The Hahn Horticulture Garden, Photo Courtesy of Virginia Tech

LEAP of Roanoke

Roanoke LEAP project is a program that dedicated themselves to creating their own community food system. They offer resources to community gardens, farmers' markets, healthy food incentives, community pantries, and a fully equipped community kitchen.

  • Farmers Markets: LEAP online marketplace, LEAP mobile market, and various markets located around Roanoke. 

  • Farm Share: A program available that delivers weekly boxes to LEAP members of locally grown healthy foods and provides support to local businesses and farmers. 

  • LEAP Kitchen: Roanoke’s shared commercial kitchen and food business incubator. The LEAP Kitchen helps their members by breaking providing easy access to an inexpensive, fully-equipped, and licensed commercial kitchen. They, also, provide support anyone would need to start, develop, grow, and operate a successful food business.

  • Healthy Food incentives: Programs to help people afford healthy sustainable food. “Virginia Fresh Match,” “Medicaid Match,” “Fresh foods RX,” and “Healthy Start collaborative” are all programs that are funded by different partner organizations of LEAP to support certain members by giving discounts and vouchers to purchase from the LEAP markets.

Read more about what LEAP is doing in the community!

Live, Work, Eat, Gather, INC.

Live, Work, Eat, Gather (LWEG) Inc is a community food system in Blacksburg, Virginia. It is a non-profit that provides guidance and support to The Old School. Their mission is to feed and stimulate the community through the support of local food and farms, the creation and growth of jobs, the security of a home, and the gathering of friends and neighbors.

They foster activities that help our community...

  • Live: the old school in Blacksburg, Virginia was converted into affordable apartments that are for people aged 55 or up

  • WorkThe Millstone Kitchen at The Old School is a commercially licensed kitchen that is open for entrepreneurial use. You can apply to be a part of the kitchen and L.W.E.G Inc is looking to support those trying to start up in small businesses!

  • Eat: The Old School has a large 4,000 sqft food space that is a suite for Restaurants, Market, and Retail that features prepared food, performances, event space with food, wine bar, and cocktails. Its neighbors, the Milestone Kitchen and Moon Hollow Brewery, adds great value to this space.

  • Gather: Moon Hollow Brewery is now open for gathering at The Old School. This space allows those of all ages to gather over alcoholic and non-alcoholic local brews with beers from Rising Solo, another local brewery, also on tap!  The Old School Live, Work, Eat, Gather

The Old School Log, Photo Courtesy of Town of Christiansburg Parks and Recreation

Charitable Efforts of the NRV

Share the Spare: A program provided by the Master Gardeners of the NRV where you can donate excess produce to be redistributed to those in need.

The Community Foundation of the NRV:  A fund that donates to parts of the NRV to "keep it growing". Their “thrive” initiative helps to build farms, stimulate the local economy and farm-to-food pantry opportunities, and unify the local food network. This foundation has an abundance of partners; such as Virginia Tech and Radford Universities, and many of the farms and gardens listed above. With all their partners, the main effort is to create the connections among all the local food sources in our community. 

NRV Food Pantries: The food pantries in the area distribute donated food to community members going through financial difficulties. This is an effort to make sure no one in our community goes hungry. Find out how to donate, volunteer, or take advantage of these resources through the link provided.

New River Valley TimeBank: This is an amazing program in which people exchange their personal skills, and provide a service for you through time. Every service hour provided, you earn one Time Credit. Once you have Time Credit you can then spend it on a service that you need, and the person providing you that service will gain an hour Time Credit. Anyone can join for a $20 flat fee to share and request services.