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Left image of various fruits and vegetables shaped in a heart. Right image of wellness coach working at a table. Images courtesy of Adobe Stock.

NIFA Programs Work to Increase Food and Nutrition Security

Nifa Authors
Rachel Dotson, Public Affairs Specialist (Social Media)

Food insecurity creates enormous strain on worker productivity, healthcare spending, and military readiness. It disproportionately impacts racial/ethnic minority populations, lower income populations, and rural and remote populations.

The USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) noted food insecurity rates peaked at 14.9% in 2011 and dropped slowly to 10.5% in 2019 – illustrating the length of time – about 8 years – that it took to return to pre-recession (2007) levels.

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) works to ensure a safe, nutritious and secure food supply while also developing, delivering, and disseminating evidence-based nutrition education and promotion to prevent chronic diseases, improve health and prioritize nutrition security. Learn more about NIFA’s programs:

  • The Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) has been increasing access to healthy foods since its creation in the 2014 Farm Bill. Named in honor of the former USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (1997-2001), GusNIP provides Nutrition Incentive grants to increase consumer purchasing of produce. Eligible participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are provided incentives at the point of purchase. Produce Prescription grants, a second component of GusNIP, offer incentive prescriptions of fresh produce in addition to nutrition educational opportunities. Since 2019, GusNIP has funded over 80 projects and distributed more than $104 million to both make fresh fruits and vegetables more available and increase food and nutrition security. Read more.
  • In May, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) celebrated 30 years of providing evidence-based nutrition education and obesity prevention interventions and projects for those eligible for SNAP benefits. Through complementary direct education, multi-level interventions, and community and public health approaches to improve nutritional health of historically underserved populations, this federally funded grant program has impacted lives for three decades. Read more.
  • Launched in 1969, NIFA’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) is the nation’s first nutrition education program for low-income populations and remains at the forefront of nutrition education efforts to reduce nutrition insecurity of low-income families and youths today. Read more.

Top image: Left image of various fruits and vegetables shaped in a heart. Right image of wellness coach working at a table. Images courtesy of Adobe Stock. 

Farm Bill Priority Areas
Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health

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