Did you know that tobacco use and obesity are the two leading causes of preventable deaths in the United States?
Established in 1999 by the Virginia General Assembly, the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth (VFHY) promotes healthy living habits and reduces and prevents youth tobacco use and childhood obesity statewide. VFHY receives no taxpayer funds. Since we began working with youth in 2001, we have helped cut the youth smoking rate in Virginia more than in half! Our initiatives include:
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Today, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order establishing the Commonwealth Council on Bridging the Nutritional Divide, which will be chaired by First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe.
“A critical component in building a new Virginia economy is ensuring that no Virginia child or family goes hungry,” said Governor McAuliffe. “By using the assets unique to Virginia, we can bridge this nutritional divide, put more Virginians on pathways to success, and at the same time grow our local agriculture economies. I look forward to the great work the Council will do to benefit our communities and all Virginia children and families. “
“With the formation of this council, we are making clear our belief that, in order to cultivate and sustain economic success, all Virginians must have access to nutritious foods that will enable them to learn, grow, and thrive,” said First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe. “With the formation of this Council we’re saying enough with the tightrope, now we start building a bridge.”
The Commonwealth Council on Bridging the Nutritional Divide will work to help solve childhood hunger in the Commonwealth, promote Virginia’s agriculture economy, and support local programs related to community nutrition, food access, and health strategies.
The Council will include representatives from both the McAuliffe administration and the private sector. This public-private partnership will be tasked with finding innovative ways to ensure that Virginia pursues new opportunities, as well as every federal dollar and program currently available that promotes healthy living, nutrition, and our local food programs.
The full text of Executive Order 34 is below.
NUMBER THIRTY FOUR (2014)
THE COMMONWEALTH COUNCIL ON
BRIDGING THE NUTRITIONAL DIVIDE
Importance of the Initiative
The foundation for a new Virginia economy rests upon the pillars of a world-class education system, infrastructure, business climate, and workforce. In order to cultivate and sustain economic success, all Virginians, especially children and young adults, must have access to nutritious, affordable, and locally-sourced foods that will enable them to learn, grow, and thrive. We must work to bridge the nutritional divide in Virginia by pursuing these objectives with a cross-Secretariat, public-private approach, relying on the Commonwealth’s vast resources and the vibrancy of our large agriculture sector.
Establishment of the Council
Accordingly, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor under Article V of the Constitution of Virginia and under the laws of the Commonwealth, and subject to my continuing and ultimate authority and responsibility to act in such matters, I hereby establish the Commonwealth Council on Bridging the Nutritional Divide (“Council”).
The Council will seek to achieve three major objectives through partnerships across the Governor’s Cabinet, with state agencies, national, regional, and local nonprofits, local governments, schools, and private businesses, and with increased data sharing and research:
1. Eliminate childhood hunger in Virginia by increasing participation in nutrition assistance programs:
• Increase school division and community participation in a) the Community Eligibility Provision, b) the Summer Food Service Program, c) the Child and Adult Care Food Program, d) alternative breakfast models, and e) additional pathways to expand meal access as determined by the Council.
• Increase eligible household participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
2. Promote Virginia’s leading industry – agriculture – and increase access to affordable, healthy, and local foods:
• Improve food distribution systems to better serve a diversifying Virginia agricultural economy
• Improve accessibility to farmers’ markets
• Increase acceptance of SNAP/Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) and WIC/EBT at farmers’ markets
• Encourage the development of innovative and sustainable retail models to provide access to healthy foods in areas classified as food deserts
• Increase farm-to-school and other farm-to-institution programs
3. Facilitate efficient and effective local initiatives related to community nutrition, food access, and health strategies and programs across the Commonwealth:
• Support the development of regional agricultural councils, nutrition education programs, and additional community and learning gardens
• Serve as a communications hub for initiatives and convener of partners, and recognize and promote innovative local programs, that align with the council’s mission
Composition of the Council
The Chair of the Council will be the First Lady of Virginia and consist of representatives of the Secretaries of Agriculture and Forestry, Commerce and Trade, Education, Health and Human Resources, Veterans and Defense Affairs, state and local agencies, the agriculture and business communities, leaders in education and health, and others with appropriate expertise, as appointed by the Governor.
Staff support for the Council will be provided by the Office of the Governor, and any other agencies or offices as may be designated by the Governor. The Council will serve in an advisory role, in accordance with § 2.2-2100 of the Code of Virginia, and will meet upon the call of the Chair at least four times per year.
The Council shall develop a three-year plan to achieve its objectives and shall regularly report to the Governor and the Children’s Cabinet. The plan shall include quantifiable metrics and associated goals for each objective, and progress toward achieving these goals shall be made available to the public via an online scorecard.
Effective Date of the Executive Order
This Executive Order shall be effective upon its signing and shall remain in force and effect until January 12, 2018, unless amended or rescinded by further executive order.
Given under my hand and under the Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia, this 20th day of November, 2014.
Terence R. McAuliffe, Governor
Virginia Quit Day is today! Get ready to quit tobacco now by joining the Countdown to Quit. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get daily tips to help you and your loved ones be better prepared for a successful quit. You can also get help quitting by calling the Virginia Quitline at 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) or visit www.QuitNow.net/Virginia. Assistance for deaf and hearing-impaired TTY is available at 800-332-8615.
Quitting tobacco may feel like a never-ending cycle, but this November 20, you have a new reason to quit. The Great American Smokeout is a chance to quit for a day - then a lifetime. When you call or enroll online, a Quit Coach staff member will work with you to change your behaviors and support yo…