Roanoke foodshed Network


The Roanoke Foodshed Network is a collaboration among dozens of diverse partners across nine cities and counties in the Roanoke region, with a focus on creating a more equitable and resilient food and farming system that produces health and abundance for all.

Anyone interested in regional food systems work or curious to learn more about RFN is invited to attend regular virtual and in-person events, connect at quarterly all-partner meetings, and join RFN’s online community. RFN’s online community is a space for information about food systems topics, upcoming events, articles, research, and more.

Join the rfn online community

LEADing Network Partners

What Does RFN Do?

The Roanoke Foodshed Network is composed of four working groups and a leadership team, who meet regularly to complete projects that further the network’s goals. The RFN’s working groups are oriented around our four network goals:

  • Healthy Food Access: Support and connect healthy food access efforts across the Roanoke region.‍‍‍
  • Regional Food Identity: Nourish a regional food and farming system through story sharing, forging connections between our regional identity, history, and our future economic development, and rooting opportunity in the caretaking of our physical and living environments.
  • Farming and Food Production: Create regional food production, processing, and distribution systems to promote the health and wealth of the community, farmers, and the land.
  • Network Development: Co-create a dynamic structure and support system that fosters equitable, trusting, and transparent relationships for the common goal of good food for all.
The Roanoke Foodshed Network also hosts tri-annual all-partner meetings
to convene stakeholders and interested community members
across the foodshed for relationship building, and network planning and development activities.

To get involved in a working group or to attend an all partner meeting,
contact Mo McGonagle at

What Does This Work Look Like?

  • Farm Tours  and Farmer Socials to support relationship-building and peer-to-peer learning among regional farmers
  • Mini Grants to community partners to support on-the-ground community food systems efforts
  • Community Meetings and Locally Sourced Lunches to support relationship-building and network development with partners across the foodshed
  • Virtual Learning Opportunities to build capacity among network members
  • Arts Collaborations  to leverage the power of community arts as a mechanism for social change

how did we get here?

The goals of this network have grown out of a decade of conversations with farmers, planners, and local food advocates. See below for the studies and reports that have informed the Roanoke Foodshed Network’s goals and priorities. Special thanks to the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission and Virginia Association for Biological Farming for their help in establishing the RFN.

Roanoke Valley Local Food Plan
LEAP served on a steering committee for the Roanoke Valley-Allegany Regional Commission in order develop a Local Food Plan that is equitable and works for everyone in our region. Read the 2020 Roanoke Valley Local Food Plan here.

“Roanoke Local” Regional Food & Agriculture Report
In December 2016, LEAP compiled and presented this report, an overview of the current state of the local food system in the Roanoke foodshed, for the Roanoke Valley-Allegany Regional Commission (RVARC) Regional and Local Food Planning Committee.
– View the “Roanoke Local” Regional Food & Agriculture Report, by Liza Dobson

Farmer Listening Sessions
In February and March, 2017, LEAP hosted a series of three Farmer Listening Sessions around the Roanoke Valley and surrounding region, with Virginia Cooperative Extension agriculture and natural resources agents serving as facilitators. The sessions were recorded, and audio/video and transcripts of each session are available for review (Bonsack, Rocky Mount, Christiansburg). Attendees identified their greatest challenges to farm viability, and each group then collectively narrowed down the most pressing needs to a list of three, which were discussed in depth. We have attempted to boil down the roughly six hours of conversation into a coherent document, organized by perceived challenges and proposed solution(s) to each obstacle.

View the Farmer Listening Sessions Findings Report or the Executive Summary. Students from Roanoke College’s Environmental Communications class attended the Farmer Listening Sessions and produced a short video featuring local farmers from two Montvale farms: Goose Creek Gardens and Bramble Hollow Farms.

For other regional food systems assessments and research, check out the “Research and Assessments” section of our online community.

Your support grows healthy communities