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Last week, Secretary Vilsack announced a new toolkit to help communities and businesses evaluate the economic benefits of investing in local food systems. Using real-world projects, experiences, and applied research, The Economics of Local Food Systems provides usable assessment methods that can be utilized by policy makers, community leaders, private businesses, or foundations to help them decide whether to invest in increased local food activity.
Under the Obama Administration, USDA’s efforts have worked to ensure that an investment in local food is an investment in the health of our nation. In addition to driving rural economies, local food systems can be an important access point to fresh, healthy food for lower-income communities. By helping farmers, farm stands and farmers markets accept electronic nutrition benefits from participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, we’ve seen the number of local food vendors that accept SNAP grow from 753 in 2008 to more than 6,400 today — that’s more than eight times greater than when President Obama took office.
This month we are celebrating National Nutrition Month and highlighting the seven years of monumental changes to our nation’s nutrition programs under the Obama Administration. Follow along throughout the month on usda.gov, on the USDA blog and by using #USDAResults. You can also catch up on Chapter I and Chapter II by visiting our Medium site at: www.usda.gov/medium.
As part of President Obama’s historic trip to Cuba, Secretary Vilsack used his second trip to Cuba to discuss opportunities for collaboration in agriculture between the U.S. and Cuba, to better understand how climate change is affecting Cuban agricultural production and to continue to build ties that strengthen the prospect of U.S. exports to the region. We believe the key to a long and prosperous relationship between the United States and Cuba will rely on increased people-to-people relations—starting with food.