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Food Assistance and Nutrition Education

The Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Service (FNCS) ensures access to nutritious, healthful diets for all Americans. Through food assistance and nutrition education for consumers, FNCS encourages consumers to make healthful food choices. Today, rather than simply providing food, FNCS works to empower consumers with knowledge of the link between diet and health, providing dietary guidance based on research.

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) increases food security and reduces hunger in partnership with cooperating organizations by providing children and low-income people access to food, a healthful diet, and nutrition education in a manner that supports American agriculture and inspires public confidence. The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) was created in the U.S. Department of Agriculture on December 1, 1994. It is the focal point within USDA where scientific research is linked with the nutritional needs of the public.

The FNCS administers the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), which offers free and reduced meals for after-school programs. NIFA partners with FNCS to conduct training workshops and connect field staff to appropriate FNCS staff at local and state levels so that child care and after-school programs will access these resources.

Healthy meals and snacks are critical to the development of children and youth and their ability to concentrate on learning. In addition, food costs are a major portion of the budget for a child care or after-school program. The CACFP helps make child care and after-school programs more affordable by subsidizing part of the food cost, while providing nutritious food that is critical to development and learning.


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