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Basil Gooden portrait

Basil I. Gooden

Visiting Scholar, Sustainable Food Access

Email: goodenb@vcu.edu

Phone: (804) 828-2807

Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
M.P.H., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
M.S.W, Syracuse University
B.A., Virginia Tech

Basil I. Gooden, Ph.D., is with the School of Social Work as a Visiting Scholar in the Sustainable Food Access Core of the Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation (iCubed). His primary areas of academic and professional interests have been in maternal and child health, community development and inclusive and equitable food systems. 

Prior to coming to Social Work, he served as the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry for the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2016-2018. As secretary, he provided strategic vision and leadership to two of Virginia‚Äôs largest private industries, agriculture and forestry, with an annual economic impact of $91 billion on the Commonwealth. He focused on three key priority areas that included: 1) cultivating diverse and inclusive leadership in the agricultural and food industries; 2) promoting healthy, sustainable and economically viable communities; and 3) promoting innovation, technology, creativity and entrepreneurship in agriculture and food systems.

Before serving as agriculture secretary, he served as the Virginia State Director for Rural Development at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). As the chief executive officer of this federal agency, he was ultimately responsible for a workforce and programs that allocated approximately $1.25 billion annually to improve the housing, health and economic well-being of communities throughout Virginia. In this position, he implemented policies to aggressively support asset-accumulation, homeownership and wealth development in economically distressed communities. 

From 2002 until 2014, he served as the Chief Deputy Director of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).  At DHCD, he worked with many diverse populations in low-income, high-poverty areas to create safe, healthy, affordable and prosperous communities. He worked to implement comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategies that rehabilitated existing houses, upgraded the community infrastructure, removed blighted structures and increased new affordable housing opportunities.

He worked as the Coordinator of Outreach and Community Relations at Virginia Tech from 1999 until 2002. This position was a joint appointment with Alumni Relations, University Advancement and the former Office of Multicultural Affairs (now the Office for Inclusion and Diversity). In this position, he was responsible for helping develop and implement initiatives to recruit, retain and promote a diverse and qualified pool of students, staff and faculty at Virginia Tech.  

Basil is a native of Buckingham County, Virginia, where he and his family own and operate a cattle farm, raising Black Angus beef. His family farm also participates in tree farming and land conservation efforts.

Notable awards, honors and appointments

  • Social Work Congressional Fellow, 1998 -1999
    National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
  • Minority Research Fellowship, 1996-1998
    Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • Vernne Lyons Memorial Scholarship, 1995 - 1996
    National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
  • Maternal and Child Health Bureau Traineeship, 1996- 1998
    Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

Teaching Areas and Interests

  • Policy, Community and Organizational Practice
  • Community Development
  • Local and Global Food Systems
  • Food Policy and Social Justice 

Service