5 Nutrition and Food Assistance

5.1 Introduction

(Updated September 2017)

Federal policy related to nutrition or dietary guidelines should be based on sound and peer-reviewed nutrition science, should not prejudice particular agricultural commodities or products, and should not consider non-nutrition related elements such as environmental impacts or agricultural practices.

NASDA supports the USDA Farm to School Grant Program as it increases use and improves access to local foods in schools – thus boosting farm income and economic opportunities – while also fostering experiential food education for our nation’s children.

5.2 National Feeding and Nutrition Assistance Programs

NASDA supports the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP), WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Programs, and the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).

National School Lunch/Breakfast Programs

NASDA opposes restrictive dietary guidelines on meat protein and calories served through the National School Lunch and Breakfast program that do not take into consideration individual needs, especially those of physically active and growing students. Dietary guidelines should not deprive students of sufficient calories and protein for healthy growth and mental alertness.

Overly restrictive dietary guidelines in the school lunch program will not solve the serious, national problem of childhood obesity. Rather, a more comprehensive approach, including dietary education and increased physical activity, is needed to help students adopt a healthier lifestyle.

States should not be required to submit waiver request for the state department of agriculture to operate and manage the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. State departments of agriculture have close ties to the safety, production and marketing of food and have a proven track of managing grants.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

NASDA encourages the continued investments in increasing the number of farmers markets who accept SNAP benefits as a means of encouraging participants to consume a greater volume and variety of fruits and vegetables while also supporting the farmers closest to their community. Every effort should be made to assist farmers with becoming qualified SNAP retailers, including full support of grant funding for wireless point-of-sale equipment.

The effectiveness in providing a healthy diet under SNAP depends upon improvements in providing food to those who need it the most. The elimination of provisions allowing for the cash-out of food stamps is important to protecting the program from increased fraud and abuse.

WIC and Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs

The WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) and Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) are outstanding investments for agriculture and the nation and should be continuously funded. NASDA supports the expansion of the WIC FMNP and SFMNP to additional states and farmers’ markets.

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