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7 Roles of the U.S. Department of Agriculture
Pages 55-60

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From page 55...
... • Maintaining and accelerating efforts -- by reauthorizing suc cessful programs, for example -- could result in continued im provements to nutrition and produce significant benefits on multiple fronts. Tom Vilsack, then-secretary of the U.S.
From page 56...
... Many school districts had a difficult time shifting to healthier foods, Vilsack noted. In response, USDA created an initiative called Team Up for School Nutrition Success, which entailed pairing districts that were struggling and similarly situated districts that could provide them with a mentoring experience.
From page 57...
... In response, the 2014 Farm Bill included the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive grant program,4 a roughly $100 million effort to encourage SNAP beneficiaries to take advantage of the ability to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables. The department also worked with private foundations and nonprofit organizations to match its funding through "double buck" campaigns, whereby SNAP benefits are matched dollar for dollar by nonprofit assistance for specific purchases.
From page 58...
... MATCHING SUPPLY WITH DEMAND Healthier eating requires that fruits and vegetables be available to the people who want to eat them, Vilsack observed, which in turn requires expansion of local and regional food systems. Investing in those systems serves multiple purposes, he said, and can respond to a renewed interest in specialty crop production.
From page 59...
... USDA is also trying to create new consumers of healthy foods by acquainting school districts with what is being grown in their vicinities. Vilsack described Farm to School grants,6 which are making it possible for schools serving millions of children to purchase local foods and support local farmers, thereby creating closer links between rural and urban areas and a stronger sense of community.
From page 60...
... We're proud of that; we want to obviously see that continue." Vilsack noted that in the 1950s President Truman instituted the School Lunch Program because he was concerned about the country's ability to have enough healthy people to defend itself. According to Vilsack, "he felt that there needed to be more calories consumed by young people so that they would be physically strong to be able to defend the country." Now, he said, military leaders are concerned about too few young people being healthy enough to participate in a voluntary army.

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