COURTHOUSE — This year, the Virginia Dare Soil and Water Conservation District is electing two nonpartisan board members, and one of the two candidates is Daniela Cossu, a Virginia Beach resident for more than 28 years.
Cossu lives in the Kempsville area, and she said she recalls a time when it was abundant with fragrant strawberry fields and rural farmlands. “What we have in Virginia Beach is unique,” she said. “We have a good combination of rural and urban lands.”
The Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board was established over 80 years ago to develop and implement plans for conserving soil, water and other natural resources. The local Virginia Dare district, which covers the cities of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, is largely focused towards bettering agriculture and croplands and aiding local farmers.
“Our goal is to put the best management practices on area farmlands,” said Kathleen Sullivan, district manager of the Virginia Dare Conservation District.
Cossu has served as treasurer for the Hampton Roads World Affairs Council and as a secretary for the Republican Party of Virginia Beach. Cossu said the skills she developed in those positions will help her work with the conservation board.
“Some of the work that the board does is disseminate information in documents from the government to the farmers and city council,” Cossu said. “It’s important to understand what’s being asked of the local farmers.”
Cossu is retired after three decades of work in banking and as a stockbroker. A frequent customer of the area’s famers markets, she said she knows the immense amount of work it takes these local farms to provide the produce she is able bring home so often.
Financial planning is also an asset that Cossu hopes to bring to the conservation board. Having worked as a trust officer and investment advisor, she helped individuals with their finances, benefits and fiscal planning regularly.
“Some people don’t realize how much trouble it is and what these farmers have to go through to provide the produce for us,” Cossu said.
Cossu keeps her own vegetable and herb gardens at home. She doesn’t claim to be a farmer, but a citizen who is interested in lending a hand to keep farmlands plentiful.
“I like to volunteer my time to help,” Cossu said. “I have a great deal of respect for these farmers, and I want to advocate for them so that suburbanites can continue to enjoy the fruits of their labor.”
The general election is on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Leslie Jones is also running for the board.