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  • Writer's pictureRalph Thurman

These Are 4 of the Most Notable Programs Fighting Hunger in America

Food security is a significant issue across the United States and around the world. You may be familiar with the impact of hunger on your own community. No doubt you’ve also seen local efforts to mitigate the problem—the prevalence of food banks and programs offering free meals can be astounding.

At its core, food security is about ensuring that people can readily access sufficient nutritious food to remain healthy and active. Further, it means that enough safe food is available to meet the particular dietary needs of each household member.

The Role of NIFA

Let’s take a closer look at one way America tackles this dilemma. A federal organization called NIFA, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, holds a leadership role in promoting agricultural science within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

It invests heavily in projects that support the long-term viability of agriculture, and it collaborates with other federal agencies on matters related to the food supply for all inhabitants of the country. This includes environmental sustainability, building energy independence, enhancing food safety, improving nutritional outcomes, and more.

The research that NIFA spearheads benefits all who work to alleviate food insecurity, often via education and various funding endeavors. Following are several notable examples of NIFA-sponsored food security and hunger programs.

1. Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program (CFPCGP)

Since 1996, this program has been subsidizing a range of neighborhood projects to encourage low-income areas to become more self-sufficient in providing for the food needs of their populations. It operates by drawing together everyone with an interest in food security to address local situations.

Those involved with a given project review the strengths and needs of the community and set up systems and links to boost food availably. Support from NIFA can be an extremely effective tool for projects that need funding to help them address logistical concerns. A certain synergy emerges when people with a personal interest and investment are allowed to take control of easing hunger in their own communities.

CFPCGP grants are targeted towards projects where two or more food system sectors have joined forces. They’re also attracted to entrepreneurial initiatives, long-term proactive planning and innovation that illustrates cooperation between non-profit and for-profit food sectors. Plans are funded for up to four years with $10,000 to $400,000 accessible for each proposal as a dollar-to-dollar match for already-pledged funding.

2. Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP)

This venture is operational from 2019 through 2023 and falls under the authority of the 2018 federal Farm Bill. $56 million has been allocated to cover a diversity of activities. Here are three kinds of GusNIP grants and three different program types where they invest.

Nutrition Incentive

This funding supports projects that offer promotions or other encouragement at the checkout to encourage individuals who are already taking part in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, to buy more fresh produce.

Produce Prescription

For initiatives that test and show the impact of prescribing the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables coupled with providing nutrition education. These programs may increase the amount of healthy foods people eat and concurrently reduce both food insecurity and associated healthcare costs.

Cooperative Agreement

Grants for training, evaluation, information support services, and technical assistance necessary for nutrition incentive and produce prescription projects and related work.

Project types range from hyperlocal pilot projects, to standard projects, to large-scale endeavors. Pilot projects are those that are just being launched at a county level or below. Standard projects are mid-sized and could be for inhabitants of a county or state, while large scale enterprises are designed for several counties, states, or national ventures.

3. Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP)

The EFNEP is a community outreach undertaking that’s operational in all states as well as US territories such as Puerto Rico, Micronesia, and others. Its purpose is to educate Americans taking part in the service about healthy nutrition and well-being to improve their ability to make better food choices, handle food safely, and increase their level of physical activity.

The target audience for the EFNEP is families living at or below the poverty line, many of whom represent visible minorities. Since people with low-income and minority backgrounds are typically disproportionately affected by poor health and chronic illness, this ambitious attempt can make a real difference.

4. AFRI Food Security Challenge

The Agriculture and Food Research Institute (AFRI) Challenge is on a mission to ensure agriculture in American remains competitive on the world stage. The aim is to effectively end hunger around the globe by making sure that everyone has access to an adequate supply of safe and nutritious food.

Over the long-term, the goal is to increase agricultural production while using sustainable farming practices. It’s estimated that food supplies will have to double by 2050 to meet worldwide demand. Meeting this growing need, of necessity, will be accomplished in collaboration with other nations.


As you can see, there are quite a number of worthwhile efforts being led by the United States government to combat hunger. Continuing to foster cooperation between community members, non-profits, and government agencies is the only path forward to ending food insecurity.



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