USDA partners with National Urban League to improve nutrition
By: Sydney Sheffield
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to reaffirm the relationship between USDA and the National Urban League, a historic civil rights organization. The USDA and National Urban League will work collaboratively to promote nutrition and food security, increase access to healthy foods, and ensure equitable service delivery of USDA programs in underserved communities across the country.
The National Urban League is an organization dedicated to economic empowerment, equality, and social justice. Founded in 1910, the National Urban League collaborates at the national and local levels with community leaders, policymakers, and corporate partners to elevate the standards of living for African Americans and other historically underserved groups. The organization’s mission is to allow underserved communities to achieve their highest true social parity, economic self-reliance, power, and civil rights and promotes economic empowerment through education and job training, housing and community development, workforce development, entrepreneurship, health, and quality of life.
“This signing reinforces USDA’s commitment to improving health outcomes and quality of life in the communities that we serve,” said USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, in a press release. “To help those who have been historically underserved, it is paramount that we work together with a shared commitment to improve access to our programs, equip people with the resources they need, and advance equity goals.”
The partnership will encourage urban agriculture as a means of increasing food production and access, making a living, and improving the environment, thereby building stronger communities. In addition to ensuring adequate nutrition and promoting health equity, this MOU establishes the inclusion of urban agriculture and rural development opportunities into USDA's workforce development and entrepreneurship programs so current and future workers can acquire the skills needed to meet the demands of highly skilled agricultural jobs.
"This is a broad and far-reaching initiative that will address inequity and create opportunity at every level of the Department's programming and regulatory responsibility," Marc H. Morial, President of the National Urban League, said. “We’re proud to collaborate with a forward-thinking agency that is committed to carrying out the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government equity agenda.”
The first phase of the partnership will focus on identifying and developing areas in which the USDA can improve its ability to carry out missions with the National Urban League. Examples of such areas include home ownership, access to broadband, help for veterans, and youth development.