The United States Department of Agriculture enjoys world-wide recognition, but it is usually for their programs and incentives that are directly tied to farming and ranching. However, the USDA is tasked with providing many other services; one important service the USDA provides is ensuring that all Americans have access to healthy food. One area of specialization focuses on low-income older Americans who may have trouble getting adequate nutrition.
The USDA offers numerous programs aimed at ensuring those in their golden years have access to healthy and nutritious food. First off, the USDA offers three different programs designed to serve older Americans: the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, and the Nutrition Services Incentive Program. In addition, the USDA has also rolled out other programs to aid seniors in utilizing any of the three main nutritional programs.
Many programs or projects improve seniors’ access to simplified application processes, waive recertification interviews and extend certification periods. In April of 2015, the USDA awarded the AARP Foundation $3.3 million—among others for a total of $31.5 million—to support a program that helps seniors to get more fresh fruits and vegetables in their diets. Additionally, in July of 2015, the USDA proposed a rule that would allow homebound, elderly Americans and the disabled to use their SNAP benefits to have groceries delivered to their homes.
The future will no doubt hold more examples of the USDA serving the American public—from seeds in the ground to food on the table—to ensure that every American has access to healthy, wholesome food.