ALEXANDRIA – Today, at the final meeting of the Commonwealth Council on Bridging the Nutritional Divide, First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe announced the Virginia Food Access Network (VFAN), an interactive tool to accelerate efforts, connect partners, and share resources to end childhood hunger in Virginia and strengthen the local food system.
“Together, with the Commonwealth Council on Bridging the Nutritional Divide, we have worked to align our efforts to increase healthy food access, eliminate child hunger, and accelerate the efforts of dedicated partners from across the state,” said First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe. “Through the Virginia Food Access Network, there is now unprecedented access to the data and resources stakeholders need to identify gaps and maximize impact to better serve Virginians struggling with food access and hunger.”
The VFAN website, built through a collaboration of the College of William and Mary Center for Geospatial Analysis and the Commonwealth of Virginia, will be hosted by the Virginia Cooperative Extension program, and is available to the public at www.vfan.org.
Governor Terry McAuliffe established the Commonwealth Council on Bridging the Nutritional Divide by executive order in 2014 to work to solve childhood hunger in the Commonwealth, promote Virginia’s agriculture economy, and facilitate local initiatives related to community nutrition, food access, and health strategies and programs. Over the past three years, Council members have made significant strides to expand food access in the Commonwealth, including serving 6.5 million more school breakfasts in 2015-16 school year, expanding SNAP utilization at Virginia’s farmers markets, and successfully advocating for a new food crop donation tax credit to incentivize Virginia farmers to give their excess harvests to local food banks for distribution.