The health of animals, people and the environment are closely intertwined. This core belief about the connectedness of human and environmental well-being forms the basis of USDA’s One Health initiative, uniting efforts across agencies to ensure that agriculture is a driver for optimal health outcomes.
Every year on World Health Day, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) highlights the many ways its programs and partnerships help to advance human and environmental well-being. This year’s theme, “Our planet, our health,” focuses attention on the steps we all can take to ensure the health of people and the planet, both of which are USDA priority areas.
USDA and NIFA are committed to ensuring Americans have consistent access to the safe, healthy and affordable food essential to optimal health and well-being. At NIFA, programs in our institutes of Food Safety and Nutrition and Youth, Family and Community, as well as a number of programs administered through other NIFA institutes, are organized around furthering nutrition security in the U.S. The concept of nutrition security, which recognizes the link with food insecurity and diet-related diseases and disparities, emphasizes the importance of taking an equity lens to ensure access, availability and affordability among populations.
Programs that help promote nutrition security include:
- Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, teaches youths and adults proper nutrition, how to prepare healthy recipes, smart grocery shopping and physical activity.
- Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program, provides incentives like dollar-for-dollar matches on the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables at local farmers markets.
- Community Food Projects, like one in Worcester, Massachusetts, is increasing food security through a series of garden workshops focusing on caring for fruit trees, building raised garden beds and seed starting. In March, 20 community members participated in a collaborative, hands-on day of building raised garden beds.
- Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) is one of NIFA’s largest competitive funding lines. NIFA has invested $975,000 in AFRI funds to support an integrated research, Extension and education project at Colorado State University targeting families with limited resources living in rural Colorado, who have the highest risk of obesity and health disparities. Researchers are developing a mobile app that delivers tested, evidence-based programming to parents of preschoolers, with the goal of promoting healthy eating behaviors and physical activity patterns.
To learn more about our health-related work, visit NIFA’s Food and Nutrition Security webpage.