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2019-3-8

Statewide Summit to Address Needs, Future of Urban Agriculture in Virginia

4th Virginia Urban Agriculture Summit to be held April 23-25 in Virginia Beach

Photo caption: Curtis Moody, teaches school children about planting and growing at Moody Street Garden. Photo courtesy of Cedric Owens.

Agriculture is increasingly spreading from rural areas into our urban and suburban communities for many reasons, not the least of which includes a growth in the number of people who want their food sourced locally and a need for communities to eliminate food deserts. The United States Department of Agriculture defines a food desert as “…parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas.”
 
Evidence of urban agriculture’s rise in Virginia can be seen in counties like Arlington and Fairfax, which have already established legislation and zoning codes to address urban agriculture. Some communities like Alexandria, Fairfax and Arlington have long waiting lists for community garden spaces. Courses and training programs like Virginia State University’s 12-week Sustainable Urban Agriculture Certificate Program are growing in popularity. And the number of urban farms in Richmond, Hampton Roads and other urban areas across the commonwealth has exploded over recent years.
 
As more farmers get started on vacant lots and rooftops and in shipping containers and other non-traditional urban spaces, conversations about research, policy, safety, land-usage rights and sustainability are on the rise.
 
To address these and other issues pertaining to the growth of Virginia’s urban agriculture industry, the Virginia Cooperative Extension program at Virginia State University, among other partners, is hosting the 4th Virginia Urban Agriculture Summit April 23–25, 2019, at the Founders Inn and Spa, 5641 Indian River Rd, Virginia Beach, Va. Over three days more than 100 urban farmers, gardeners, foodies, ag-tivists, policy makers and government leaders will convene to network and learn about one of agriculture’s fastest growing sectors.
 
“The Virginia Urban Agriculture Summit is an important learning opportunity for anyone seeking more knowledge to grow their own produce, either for personal consumption or for commercial sales,” said Dr. Leonard Githinji, Virginia State University Urban Agriculture Extension specialist. “People of all ages are becoming more focused on their health; they want to reconnect with the earth and learn how to grow vegetables and fruits. Urban agriculture offers a feasible option for these people and is an antidote to food deserts.”
 
Keynote speakers include Dr. Jewel Bronaugh, Virginia’s 16th Commissioner of Agriculture; Duron Chavis, manager of Community Engagement at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond; Shelley Blades, farm manager and executive director of Lynchburg Grows; and Curtis Moody, community garden coordinator of Moody Street Garden of Newport News. Topics covered at the summit will include urban food systems, food deserts, food security, food safety, postharvest handling, food justice, urban environmental issues and urban economic development. Interested parties are encouraged to submit an abstract for an oral, poster or panel presentation for the summit. Visithttps://www.ext.vsu.edu/vuas-abstracts before March 15.

 
Summit registration is $150 and is limited to 150 registrants. The registration cost includes two continental breakfasts, two buffet lunches, a networking dinner reception, and continuous food and drink refreshments throughout much of the summit. An award-winning chef will prepare food sourced from the freshest meats, seafood, as well as seasonal fruits and vegetables from local and regional artisan providers. To register, visit www.ext.vsu.edu/calendar, click on the event and then click on the registration link. 

 
Accommodation is available for $99/night per room until midnight March 24. Visithttps://www.ext.vsu.edu/vuas-conference-venue to book your accommodation or call the hotel at 1-844-382-7378. Registrants calling directly to book a room must ask for the “2019 Virginia Urban Agriculture Summit” room rate.

 
Watch an overview video from the 3rd Virginia Urban Agriculture Summit athttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97_O0vUUKPw. Learn more about the first three summits at https://www.ext.vsu.edu/vuas-past-events.

 
For further information or if a person with a disability desires any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, contact Mollie Klein at mklein@vsu.edu or call (804) 524-5964 / (800) 828-1120 (TDD) during business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations no later than five days prior to the event.
 
Extension is a joint program of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state and local governments. Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. VSU is an equal opportunity/ affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

 

*SCAM ALERT* HERRING WARNS VIRGINIANS ABOUT TECH SUPPORT AND REPAIR SERVICES SCAMS

~ Warning comes as part of a nationwide crackdown on scams of this nature ~

RICHMOND (March 7, 2019) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring is warning Virginians about scammers who try to trick consumers into buying costly tech support and repair services as part of a nationwide crackdown on these scams. Attorney General Herring, in coordination with attorneys general from across the country through the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), has joined the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other regulators to combat tech support scams. As part of this effort, NAAG and the Department of Justice today announced a sweep of elder fraud cases and focused particular attention on tech support scams as a major threat to senior citizens.

“Unfortunately, fraudsters are ever-evolving and always coming up with new and relevant ways to scam consumers,” said Attorney General Herring. “I would encourage Virginians to be vigilant about anyone contacting them with threats or high pressure sales tactics, whether by mail, phone, or online and remember to never send money to a company or person who you are not sure is trustworthy.”

These scams work in similar ways. Scammers use phone calls and online ads resembling security alerts from major technology companies to trick consumers into contacting the operators of these schemes and providing access to the consumers’ computers. The scammers will claim consumers’ computers are infected with viruses or experiencing other problems. They then try to pressure consumers into buying unnecessary computer repair services, service plans, anti-virus protection or software, and other products and services.

Here are some tips to avoid tech support scams:

  • Be on the lookout for scams which try to make you believe you have a serious problem with your computer, like a virus;

  • Do not pay for services by wiring money, putting money on a gift card, iTunes card, prepaid card or cash reload card, or using a money transfer app because these types of payments can be hard to reverse;

  • Beware of fake computer technicians pretending to be from a well-known company requesting remote access to your computer and then pretending to run a diagnostic test;

  • If you get a phone call you didn’t expect from someone who says there’s a problem with your computer, hang up;

  • Beware of scammers who try to lure you with a pop-up window that appears on your computer screen, which might look like a security issue or error message from your operating system or antivirus software, and which might use logos from trusted companies or websites;

  • If you get this kind of pop-up window on your computer, don’t call the number as real security warnings and messages will never ask you to call a phone number;

  • Look out for illegitimate websites that show up in online search results for tech support, or other ads;

  • If you think there may be a problem with your computer, update your computer’s security software and run a scan;

  • If you need help fixing a problem, go to someone you know and trust, for instance the company you purchased the software from or a store that sells computer equipment and offers technical support in person;

  • If you paid a tech support scammer with a credit or debit card, contact your credit card company or bank right away, tell them what happened and ask if they can reverse the charges;

  • If you paid with a gift card, contact the company that issued the card right away and ask if they can refund your money;

  • If you gave a scammer remote access to your computer, update your computer’s security software, run a scan and delete anything it identifies as a problem; and

  • If you gave your user name and password to a tech support scammer, change your password right away and on any other sites that have the same password.

Virginians who have a question, concern, or complaint about a consumer matter should contact Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section:

Since 2014, Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section has recovered more than $292 million in relief for consumers and payments from violators. The Section has also transferred more than $33 million to the Commonwealth’s General Fund. Following a major reorganization and enhancement in 2016, the OAG’s Consumer Protection Section has been even more effective in fighting for the rights of Virginians.

 

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