The mission of the Department of Agriculture is to provide leadership, coordination and education to enhance the economic vitality of the City's agriculture industry and the preservation and enhancement of its quality physical environment, to assist citizens in strenthening their families and to provide citizens and visitors with cultural and recreational opportunities by preserving our agricultural and rural heritage.
The Cooperative Extension Program, provides research, technical and marketing assistance and community education for all residents of the City in matters regarding agriculture, horticulture, soils, family issue programming and home management. The Department also administers the Agricultural Reserve Program and provides support for the local Agricultural Advisory Commission to promote agriculture as an important industry and to enhance the natural resources and habitats in Virginia Beach. It reviews proposed projects for possible erosion and sediment control issues, oversees the civil penalties from wetland violations to ensure that such funds are used to restore or enhance natural wetland areas and also oversees the City's share of funding for the State Forester. It operates a Farmers' Market for the sale of agricultural and complementary products and to provide a venue for rural heritage programming for citizens and visitors. The Department accomplishes these tasks with a staff of 15 and a large contingent of volunteers.