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USDA announces strategic framework to enhance nutrition security nationwide

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    USDA announces strategic framework to enhance nutrition security nationwide

    On March 17, in a speech at Columbia University’s Teachers College, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack outlined USDA’s commitment to enhancing nutrition security. To achieve nutrition security, which signifies that communities have continued access to healthy, safe and affordable food, Secretary Vilsack calls on strengthening our nutrition assistance programs and enacting fundamental changes to our agriculture infrastructure by promoting sustainable and local production, while ensuring jobs and opportunities remain in local communities.

    USDA announced the following four-pillar approach to promoting nutrition security:

    • Provide nutrition support throughout all stages of life, beginning with pregnancy through Women, Infants and Children (WIC) support programs and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)-Education and ensuring school meals continue to meet federal nutrition standards
    • Connect all Americans to healthy, safe and affordable food sources by increasing nutrition opportunities for kids, working with schools to supply locally sourced foods to their students and enhancing local food production
    • Develop, translate and enact nutrition science through partnerships, ensure it is readily available to all audiences and create a more convenient way for individuals to access nutritional information
    • Prioritize equity every step of the way by collaborating with underserved communities, such as rural and tribal communities, and increasing access to SNAP and WIC programs

    Proper nutrition is crucial to high quality early childhood development goals, ensures children are mentally and physically prepared to learn when entering school and reduces the burden of chronic disease. Counties support the promotion of healthy diets, including strengthening incentives and infrastructure to encourage more fruit and vegetable production and investing in programs promoting healthy food.

    Nutrition benefit programs, such as SNAP and WIC, provide nutrition assistance funding to low-income families and individuals to better support healthy and adequate eating habits. These safety net programs are critical to struggling families and effectively and efficiently stimulate the economy during times of downturn and natural disasters. As the front line of the social safety net, county governments are essential partners in administering, operating and supporting these and other food assistance programs.

    The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the importance of flexibility for states, counties and schools when administering federal safety net programs. It further highlighted the need for additional program funding, with counties across the country allocating their American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars towards addressing food and nutrition insecurity in their communities. Counties applaud federal investments in nutrition security and will continue to monitor USDA action on this issue.

    Additional Resources

    • NACo Report: The County Human Services and Education Landscape
    • NACo Legislative Toolkit for Counties: Priorities for Strengthening the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
    • NACo Workshop: Strengthening Anti-Hunger Resources through the 2023 Farm Bill
    • NACo Policy Brief: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Reauthorization and Appropriations
    On March 17, in a speech at Columbia University’s Teachers College, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack outlined USDA’s commitment to enhancing nutrition security.
    2022-03-22
    Blog
    2022-03-22
USDA is marking National Nutrition Month with a report on their latest efforts to boost nutrition security USDA outlines four pillars to advance nutrition security and ensure communities have access to safe, healthy and affordable food Counties are key partners with the federal government in helping vulnerable residents access nutritious food

On March 17, in a speech at Columbia University’s Teachers College, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack outlined USDA’s commitment to enhancing nutrition security. To achieve nutrition security, which signifies that communities have continued access to healthy, safe and affordable food, Secretary Vilsack calls on strengthening our nutrition assistance programs and enacting fundamental changes to our agriculture infrastructure by promoting sustainable and local production, while ensuring jobs and opportunities remain in local communities.

USDA announced the following four-pillar approach to promoting nutrition security:

  • Provide nutrition support throughout all stages of life, beginning with pregnancy through Women, Infants and Children (WIC) support programs and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)-Education and ensuring school meals continue to meet federal nutrition standards
  • Connect all Americans to healthy, safe and affordable food sources by increasing nutrition opportunities for kids, working with schools to supply locally sourced foods to their students and enhancing local food production
  • Develop, translate and enact nutrition science through partnerships, ensure it is readily available to all audiences and create a more convenient way for individuals to access nutritional information
  • Prioritize equity every step of the way by collaborating with underserved communities, such as rural and tribal communities, and increasing access to SNAP and WIC programs

Proper nutrition is crucial to high quality early childhood development goals, ensures children are mentally and physically prepared to learn when entering school and reduces the burden of chronic disease. Counties support the promotion of healthy diets, including strengthening incentives and infrastructure to encourage more fruit and vegetable production and investing in programs promoting healthy food.

Nutrition benefit programs, such as SNAP and WIC, provide nutrition assistance funding to low-income families and individuals to better support healthy and adequate eating habits. These safety net programs are critical to struggling families and effectively and efficiently stimulate the economy during times of downturn and natural disasters. As the front line of the social safety net, county governments are essential partners in administering, operating and supporting these and other food assistance programs.

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the importance of flexibility for states, counties and schools when administering federal safety net programs. It further highlighted the need for additional program funding, with counties across the country allocating their American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars towards addressing food and nutrition insecurity in their communities. Counties applaud federal investments in nutrition security and will continue to monitor USDA action on this issue.

Additional Resources

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    <h3><strong>Counties Matter in Human Services</strong></h3>

  • Basic page

    Human Services & Education Steering Committee

    All matters pertaining to children’s issues, foster care,  public assistance and income support, services to senior citizens and individuals with disabilities, immigration policy, social services, and elementary, secondary and post-secondary education. Policy Platform & Resolutions 2021-2022 2022 NACo Legislative Priorities
    page

    <p>All matters pertaining to children&rsquo;s issues, foster care,&nbsp; public assistance and income support, services to senior citizens and individuals with disabilities, immigration policy, social services, and elementary,

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