Media Contact: Jennifer Martin, (202) 720-8188
Jan. 28, 2009 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is awarding $900,000 to the Wallace Center at Winrock International, Little Rock, Ark., to run the Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development (HUFED) Center. This center will work to increase access to healthy, affordable foods, including locally produced agricultural products to underserved communities.
"This ambitious effort will create a national center to help establish local and regional food systems and get healthy food into low-income communities, which are important components of USDA's 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' initiative," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Congress created the HUFED Center in the 2008 Farm Bill. The center is designed to respond to the need to redevelop a food enterprise structure in the United States to make more healthy, affordable food available in low-income areas; to improve access for small and mid-sized agricultural producers; and to promote positive economic activities generated from attracting healthy food enterprises into underserved communities. The HUFED Center will provide training and technical assistance for food enterprises and award sub-grants to eligible entities for healthy food enterprise development.
The Wallace Center supports entrepreneurs and communities as they build a new, 21st century food system that is healthier for people, the environment and the economy. HUFED will build on Wallace's expertise in economic development through local food enterprises and will work with the National Good Food Network, a partnership of nonprofits, for-profits, researchers, government, funders and practitioners dedicated to "scaling-up" the aggregation and distribution of local food.
"The Wallace Center is a natural choice to house the Healthy Urban Food Development Enterprise Center. With years of experience in building local economies, creating new jobs, and health promotion, I have no doubt that the Wallace Center will be a tremendous asset in supporting greater access to health food, both in Arkansas and around the country," Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln said.
More information on the HUFED Center can be found online at http://www.wallacecenter.org/our-work/current-initiatives/healthy-urban-food-enterprise-development-center/healthy-urban-food-enterprise-development-center .
USDA's 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' initiative emphasizes the need for a fundamental and critical reconnection between producers and consumers. The effort builds on the 2008 Farm Bill, which provides for increases and flexibility for USDA programs in an effort to promote local foods. Aimed at strengthening the connection between farmers and consumers, the initiative also aims to support local and regional food systems for Americans, increase economic opportunities for local farmers, and expand access to healthy food.
The Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food website, at www.usda.gov/knowyourfarmer , features social media tools to help focus the public conversation about farming and food, while engaging American agriculture and linking producers to customers.
Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. For more information, visit www.nifa.usda.gov.
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