Throughout Southwest Virginia, many small-scale farmers grow products to be sold at a farmer’s market or to local restaurants. Meanwhile, several universities in the area, such as Virginia Tech, try to use local produce in their food programs whenever possible. The local farmers are unable to supply universities with enough produce to serve 30,000-40,000 meals a day. However, Floyd County, in conjunction with the non-profit group SustainFloyd, is investigating a solution to that problem, and a potential way to make sustainable farming work on a large scale—a food processing plant for local produce.
The proposed food processing plant would allow farmers to drop off their produce to be converted into a value-added product, such as soup or frozen vegetables. These products could then be distributed to large institutions. Additionally, because of the processing capabilities of the plant, produce could be preserved and distributed out of season.
Residents of Floyd are hopeful that the plant will create new economic opportunities for farmers, buyers, distributors, and entrepreneurs. It may even prevent the loss of farmland in Southwest Virginia. Residents of Floyd can provide input and show support for the plant by participating in this survey, designed to gauge local interest.