Elections: Candidate for conservation board supports family farms, suburban backyard hens


COURTHOUSE – Virginia Beach resident Leslie Jones is one of two candidates running for two open seats on the Virginia Dare Soil and Water Conservation Board during the election on Tuesday, Nov. 3. 

The board helps manage the conservation of soil, water and other natural resources. 

The conservation board is also responsible for working with farmers to implement conservation measures, improve practices and maintaining the quality of local agricultural land.

Jones has lived in Virginia Beach since 1961, and she said she has been an active participant in agriculture since she was a child, participating in Girl Scouts and 4-H. This helped foster an early interest in farming and the upkeep of local agriculture, she said.

Before retiring in 2010, Jones worked for over 30 years at the Southeastern Virginia Training Center, which provides services to citizens with disabilities. 

She has participated with the Virginia Cooperative Extension, she said, and she is eager to bring her skills and ideas to her new endeavor with the conservation board. 

Jones is an advocate for continuing conversation and educating citizens and farmers, and she said she wants to keep community programs active. 

She also said she is concerned about small, family-operated farms and keeping big agriculture operations out of the area.

“I am very into supporting and saving our small area farms,” Jones said. 

“Instead of farming getting bigger and bigger, we should continue to go smaller and smaller,” she added. “It’s much healthier that way.”

Animal health is also of interest to Jones. She is currently working with a group in Virginia Beach working towards having backyard, free-range hens in Virginia Beach a reality. 

Having hens in residential areas has been approved in Chesapeake and Norfolk, and the group, called 4 Virginia Beach Hens. is actively pursuing the ability to keep hens in area neighborhoods.

“It’s something sustainable,” Jones said. “It’s personal sustainability.”

Daniela Cossu is the other Virginia Beach resident running for the two open seats for directors.

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