Brunswick County

Governor Northam Awards Funding to 15 Projects Addressing Food Insecurity in Underserved Communities

Grants will support initiatives aimed at expanding food retailers, increasing access to fresh produce

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that 15 projects across the Commonwealth will receive a total of over $620,000 in the inaugural round of Virginia Food Access Investment Fund (VFAIF) grants. The Governor made the announcement at an event with Richmond Food Justice Alliance, which will receive funding to support a new mobile food market with Shalom Farms.

First launched in 2020, the VFAIF provides grants between $5,000 and $50,000 to support business development, construction, rehabilitation, equipment upgrades, or expansion of grocery stores, small food retailers, or innovative food retail projects that increase food access in underserved communities. VFAIF follows the Equitable Food-Oriented Development model of using food and agriculture to create economic opportunities and healthy neighborhoods in historically marginalized communities.

“Hunger and food insecurity are a reality for too many Virginia families, and the pandemic has only underscored the urgency of this crisis,” said Governor Northam. “At its core, the Virginia Food Access Investment Fund is about addressing the root causes of low food access and increasing equity and justice in our local food systems. I am pleased to see the innovation and dedication of businesses and organizations who are helping to advance our shared goals of building strong, resilient food supply chains in historically marginalized communities and making fresh, nutritious food available to Virginians in every corner of our Commonwealth.”

In 2020, Governor Northam signed House Bill 1509, sponsored by Delegate Delores McQuinn, and Senate Bill 1073, sponsored by Senator Jennifer McClellan, creating the Virginia Food Access Investment Program and Fund. The VFAIF program supports the Virginia Roadmap to End Hunger, a unified set of goals and strategies to prioritize food security during the current public health emergency and beyond. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 850,000 Virginians were food insecure, including 250,000 children. Rates increased by approximately 20 percent during the ongoing public health crisis, with an additional 150,000 Virginians experiencing food insecurity. 

“I have spent many years advocating for equity in providing healthy and affordable food options to all citizens of the Commonwealth,” said Delegate Delores McQuinn. “This investment program is a great start to address the ongoing challenge of food insecurities that have been so prevalent in this period of social and economic deficit. I am grateful to the Governor for his leadership and commitment to addressing food inequities across Virginia.”

In addition to supporting equitable food access in food deserts, the program works to increase the availability of fresh, healthy foods. VFAIF projects include a food retail component that accepts federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and offers the Virginia Fresh Match nutrition incentives program. Virginia Fresh Match doubles the value of SNAP benefits for fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets, increasing access to healthy foods and supporting local farmers. 

“Studies have proven time and again that people in areas without access to fresh food are disproportionately affected by negative health consequences, including obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure,” said Senator Jennifer McClellan. “Not only does the Virginia Food Access Investment Fund help alleviate this disparity, it pushes investment into historically underserved communities that have often struggled to access capital.”

“Addressing food insecurity has been and continues to be a priority for the Northam Administration,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “The Virginia Food Access Investment Fund achieves three important goals of providing access to healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables while also investing in local economies and supporting Virginia agriculture.”

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services provides technical assistance and works with applicants in developing projects. The VFAIF application can be accessed through the VDACS website.

The following projects are receiving funding in the inaugural round of Virginia Food Access Investment Fund grants:

Beans and Rice, Pulaski County
$50,000

This project will support a fresh food mobile market that will operate four days per week with stops determined in partnership with area churches, community members, and local governments, including the Pulaski County Department of Social Services, to ensure maximum benefit to food insecure residents.

Browntown Farms, Brunswick County
$50,000

Funding for Browntown Farms will support a multi-purpose facility with cold storage, aggregation of local produce, and “barn to door” online ordering and delivery service.

Doña Fer Grocery Store, Rockingham County
$22,046

This project will fund a new cooler and repair an existing cooler at a small grocery store serving the Latinx community in Harrisonburg to meet the customer requests for more fresh foods, including milk, meat, and produce.

FRESHFARM, Fairfax County
$50,000

FRESHFARM will establish new fresh food mobile markets in food insecure areas of Northern Virginia in partnership with the Virginia Farmers Market Association. These markets will generate revenue for family-owned farms in Virginia and expand a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program for SNAP users.

Henry’s Marketplace, Scott County
$25,000

Funding for Henry’s Marketplace will support expanded retail space, coolers, and local produce sales, as well as a new outdoor market and community event space featuring local artists and musicians.

Honaker Wholesale, Russell County
$25,000

Honaker Wholesale is a small grocery and general goods store in rural Russell County, where additional grocery options are at least a 25-minute drive away. Funding will support the purchase of a new walk-in cooler enabling volume purchases and the storage of fresh products, lowering costs, and increasing the availability and variety of fresh food to customers. 

Jon Henry General Store, Shenandoah County
$25,000

Located in New Market, Jon Henry General Store is one of the only food retailers offering a produce box CSA-style program for SNAP/EBT customers that provides access to fruits and vegetables while also leveraging the Virginia Fresh Match program. Funding will support expanded cooler capacity and enable an expansion of this program.

Norfolk Food Ecosystem, City of Norfolk
$50,000

Funding will support a new fresh food market in the underserved St. Paul’s community of Norfolk to increase access to fresh food, serve as a Fresh Food Pharmacy, offer health education, and provide information about how to access SNAP and Virginia Fresh Match.  

Northside Food Access Coalition, City of Richmond
$50,000

Northside Food Access Coalition is a community-led organization that aims to increase fresh food access along the Brookland Park corridor in Richmond. This project will convert an existing community-owned building into a cold storage facility and a new hybrid farmers’ market CSA program serving the more than 35,000 area residents, 56 percent of whom experience low food access.

Project GROWS, City of Staunton
$46,642

Project GROWS will operate a mobile market to increase fresh food access in a number of underserved communities in Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County. Market locations will include elderly and fixed-income communities, low income housing complexes, and afterschool programs.

Richmond Food Justice Alliance and Shalom Farms, City of Richmond
$49,000

This project is a collaboration between the non-profit organizations Richmond Food Justice Alliance and Shalom Farms, and will support a community-led process to inform the establishment of pop-up markets in the Mosby Court, Fairfield, and Creighton Court neighborhoods in Richmond. Skills development and entrepreneurship opportunities will be available for neighborhood residents, centered around community wealth-building and increased access to fresh food.

River Street Market Education, City of Petersburg
$50,000

River Street Market Education is the non-profit arm of Petersburg’s River Street Market. This project seeks to establish youth-led mobile markets and to create more local purchasing opportunities at existing Petersburg farmers’ market. VFAIF will support this project by providing needed cold storage infrastructure for food aggregation and retail distribution. 

Surry Marketplace, Surry County
$50,000

This project will support the establishment of a new grocery store in Surry County, which currently lacks a market, and will feature an online ordering platform and delivery service, workforce development, and increased access to fresh food.

Tommy T’s Marketplace, Brunswick County
$25,000

Tommy T’s Marketplace will address an identified food desert in Lawrenceville by transforming a vacant convenience store into a multi-purpose retail facility with an emphasis on providing healthy, fresh food options. Funding will support infrastructure, hiring local community members, and a mobile market component. 

Youth Earn and Learn, City of Norfolk
$50,000

Youth Earn and Learn is a non-profit that takes a multi-pronged approach to increasing food security, including through youth-led mobile markets and entrepreneurship training, local sourcing of fresh produce, and business literacy. This project expands a proven youth and community development model which focuses on job training and skills development to benefit historically marginalized youth and underemployed residents in the Norfolk area.

VSP Investigate Fatatal Single Vehicle Crash in Brunswick County

Virginia State Police investigate a single vehicle crash that results in a fatality. 
 
Tuesday evening, at approximately 8:04PM, the Virginia State Police was called to investigate a single vehicle accident on Route 58, east of Route 638, in Brunswick County.
 
Preliminary investigations reveal that the driver of a 2001 Chevrolet Geo, Larry Jones, was traveling in the eastbound lanes of Route 58 when the driver lost control, ran off the roadway, striking several trees and overturned, killing Jones.
 
Larry Jones, 71 YOA, of the 800 block of Glendale Mill Road, of Freeman, Virginia, was wearing his safety belt and it is unknown at this time if alcohol was a contributing factor.

VSP Investigate Single Vehicle Pursuit that Ended in Fatality in Brunswick County

Virginia State Police investigate a single fatal accident as a result of  vehicle pursuit.
 
Earlier this morning, July 20, at approximately 5:21 AM, the Virginia State Police Communications Center received a call from Brunswick County Sheriff's Office requesting a trooper and the Virginia State Police Crash Reconstruction Team to investigate a single vehicle fatality crash that resulted from a traffic pursuit, initiated by the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office.
 
Preliminary investigations reveal that a 2019 Porsche Cayenne was traveling at a high rate of speed in the northbound lanes of Interstate 85, when the driver lost control of the vehicle at the 37mm, Brunswick County. The male driver ran off the roadway, ejecting the unrestrained driver. The vehicle overturned into the tree line, killing the driver, and seriously injuring the passenger. The male passenger was wearing his safety belt and had to be airlifted to Virginia Commonwealth University Hospital with life threatening injuries. 
 
Identification and notification to family members is currently pending. The investigation remains on-going. 

The driver has been identified as 29 year old Brian Alexander Thompson II of the 1100 block of Piazza Place, Hampton , Virginia. Notification has been made to family members. 

The passenger, 35 year old Marcus L. Jones of Hamlett, North Carolina, remains at VCU.

Virginia Lawmakers Break For Brunswick Stew

People line up for Brunswick stew

Legislative pages transport stew

By Conor Lobb, Capital News Service

RICHMOND -- The aroma of meat and vegetables beckoned state legislators Wednesday to a tent at the foot of the Capitol for Brunswick Stew Day.

Scores of legislative pages -- young aides who assist lawmakers -- wheeled carts laden with styrofoam containers of stew back toward the State Capitol for legislators who couldn’t get away.

“There’s no cooking supper when you come home with Brunswick stew,” said Del. Thomas C. Wright, R-Victoria. Wright was the legislative “chef” responsible for the official resolution designating the fourth Wednesday in January as Brunswick Stew Day. 

“The legislators love it. At first, they didn’t even know what Brunswick stew was,” Wright said. 

Brunswick stew is a mixture of beans, chicken, corn and other vegetables. In 1988 the Virginia General Assembly named Brunswick County the “birthplace” of Brunswick stew -- though the designation hasn’t gone unchallenged by Brunswick, Georgia. 

For 18 years, stew masters have brought their award-winning recipes to the Capitol. This year, the honor belongs to the Danieltown Stew Crew. The group won the 2019 World Champion Brunswick Stew Cook-off, held last fall at the Lawrenceville-Brunswick Municipal Airport.

Inside the steamy, white tent where the stew cooked, a three-man team stirred the stew pots, weighing 50 and 75 gallons, respectively. Clark Bennett, the Danieltown Stew Master, told Capitol News Service that his 75-gallon pot is over 100 years old.

“Some people call them cauldrons,” Bennett said.

Bennett was using two massive cast iron cauldrons to brew his version of the Brunswick tradition. The stew crew used a wooden paddle to constantly stir the hearty mixture.

“I do a figure eight. You don’t want it sticking to the pot,” said Kyle Gee, a member of the stew crew.

Virginia Secretary of Agriculture Bettina Ring said that Brunswick Stew Day is a great tradition in Brunswick County and rustic parts of the state. She also called it an opportunity to educate legislators about rural communities.

Brunswick County Administrator Charlette Woolridge said Brunswick Stew Day helps promote the county and reach legislators.

“It’s important that they understand issues that impact Brunswick County and rural communities,” Woolridge said, highlighting the importance of increasing rural broadband and stimulating economic development.

Del. Roslyn C. Tyler, D-Jarratt, represents Brunswick. She said broadband is imperative “to promote economic development and attract businesses.” 

Two duplicate bills were introduced this legislative session, one in the House and one in the Senate, that would grant a locality the authority to establish telecommunication services such as internet and broadband.

Sen. L. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, asked for her bill to be removed and the other bill, introduced by Del. Steve Heretick, D-Portsmouth, failed to pass a subcommittee Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the bowls of steaming stew had no problem being passed around.

Nike

Brunswick Counry High Speed Chase Ends in Fatality

Virginia State Police was called to investigate a single vehicle accident that was a result of a vehicle pursuit by Brunswick County Sheriff's Office.
 
Preliminary investigations reveal that at approximately 10:48 p.m. yesterday evening (October19), the Brunswick County Sheriff's Department attempted to pull over a 2010 Honda Civic for speeding 84MPH in a 70 MPH speed zone. The Honda Civic was traveling in the northbound lanes of Interstate 85, when the deputy attempted to pull over Valeton Junior Pratt. Mr. Pratt failed to pull over and a pursuit entailed. Mr. Pratt attempted to take exit 34 at a high rate of speed, crossed over Route 630, and struck a tree.
 
Mr. Valeton J. Pratt, 27 YOA, of the 1000 block of First Avenue, Lawrenceville, VA., died upon impact. His front seat passenger, Keith M. Haskins, of South Hill, Virginia, suffered non-life threatening injuries, and was taken to VCU Hospital in South Hill, Virginia.
 
Mr. Pratt was not wearing his seat belt at the time of the accident. It is unknown at this time if alcohol played a contributing factor. 
 
Notification to family members has been made.

Nike Roshe

Instead of Cooking Up Laws, Politicians Enjoy Stew

Instead of cooking up laws, legislators enjoy stew

By Maura Mazurowski, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – “Today is the day!” exclaimed Del. Chris Jones of Suffolk as he made his way into the tent set up outside the General Assembly Building. Behind him, a long line of state legislators exiting their offices repeatedly asked the same question:

“Is the stew ready yet?”

Wednesday was Brunswick Stew Day at the state Capitol, celebrating the signature dish of Brunswick County, a quaint locale along Virginia’s southern border. The stew was free to the public but mostly served state legislators. However, if you wanted your share, you had to get there early: The 80-gallon cast-iron pot was empty in just two hours.

The annual event features the first-place winner from the Taste of Brunswick Festival, held every October in Brunswick County. The winning stew crew cooks its recipe for the General Assembly on the fourth Wednesday in January during the legislative session, an honor enshrined in a resolution passed by lawmakers 15 years ago.

Twenty-four teams competed for the Taste of Brunswick crown last October. Bill Steed and his son Chad came out on top as the stew masters for Brunswick Stew Day 2017. This was their third time competing in the festival.

“Third time’s the charm,” Bill’s wife, Deborah Steed, said proudly.

Steed and his team – which included his daughter-in-law Beverly Steed, his brother Chuck Maitland and his nephew Zach Maitland – arrived at the Capitol just before midnight to start cooking by 2 a.m. The stirring didn’t stop until the pot was empty.

“You cannot let it sit at all,” warned Brunswick County Administrator Charlette Woolridge. “It’s always being stirred.”

Born and raised in Brunswick County, Bill Steed has been cooking stew since childhood. While he outlined the recipe’s basic ingredients – chicken, vegetables and a butter base – no one would disclose the “secret ingredient.”

“It’s a Brunswick County secret that makes our stew an absolute art,” Woolridge said.

Woolridge, a Richmond native, has been coming to the Capitol for Brunswick Stew Day since being selected as county administrator 10 years ago.

“This is a day to showcase Brunswick County and our diverse people,” Woolridge said. “It’s also an opportunity for us to share something that’s near and dear to us with the legislators by providing them with stew – and they love it.”

Virginia’s love for Brunswick stew dates back to the 1820s. Dr. Creed Haskins, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, and a group of friends were on a hunting trip in Brunswick County. Their chef, Jimmy Matthews, slow-cooked everything he could find for the hungry hunters: squirrel, bread crumbs, onions, butter, seasonings and more. The stew has since become a staple at Southern gatherings.

But the Steeds were doing more than serving legislators delicious stew this brilliantly blue morning: They were carrying on a family tradition. According to Deborah Steed, the Steed family members are distant relatives of Dr. Haskins.

For about 30 years, Brunswick County officials have been coming to Richmond each legislative session to dish out their stew to lawmakers. The General Assembly officially established Brunswick Stew Day on the Capitol grounds in 2002 by passing House Joint Resolution 2.

Legislators have been lining up for a bowlful ever since.

“I love seeing people come through the line and say, ‘Thank you, this is so good,’” Wooldridge said. “Brunswick stew makes people feel happy. I just enjoy serving and giving back to the people.”

Disclosure: In the interest of journalistic integrity, it should be noted that the reporter tasted the Brunswick stew for herself and can agree that it is indeed a work of art.

Nike Air Penny 3

Subscribe to RSS - Brunswick County