Naija Foodie Update

Nutritional Security Through Sustainable Agriculture

Nutritional security is defined as “a situation that exists
when all people, at all times, have physical, social, and
economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that
meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”

Achieving nutritional security in the context of the
burgeoning population, climate change, diminishing
land and water resources, environmental degradation, and changing incomes and diets will require not just approaches to sustainably
producing more food, but also smarter ways of producing
food, dealing with food waste, and promoting improved
nutritional outcomes.

The National Institute of Food and
Agriculture (NIFA) invests in and advances agricultural
research, education, and extension and seeks to make
transformative discoveries that solve these societal
challenges.

NIFA’s portfolio of support for nutritional
security and sustainable
agriculture includes literally thousands of impactful efforts
across our nation; below are just a handful that speak to
the transformative work transforming lives. For example:

Healthy lifestyles are critical to address obesity and diabetes,
which are rampant in Native American communities. To
this end, Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute in New
Mexico has created the successful Seven Generations of Native Health programs,
which include topics such as understanding food labels, food consumption, and
cholesterol.

Almost 80% of the
consumptive use of
freshwater is in the food we consume, and agricultural
irrigation accounts for 62% of freshwater use in
the United States.

Such water use cannot be sustained in many parts of our nation, considering the intense weather events and droughts,
combined with depletion of
groundwater. University of Maryland researchers have developed
that can reduce water use by 40 to
80%.

Many global cereal production systems are not irrigated and
are located in semi-arid regions. The limited precipitation and often extreme temperatures in
these regions make these systems vulnerable to climate
change. To address these and associated challenges, the
project in the Pacific Northwest promotes practices that are
improving soil nutrient management, diversify cropping systems, and
anticipating changes in pest pressure.

Food waste losses are, and reducing
these losses can have global impacts. For example, Elena, a
mother of two children, experienced food insecurity
because she did not have enough money to buy more food. But, after participating
in the ’s Plan, Shop, Save” lesson, Elena
began cooking more
purposefully. “I didn’t look at what I had.

Now I look at the
pantry to see what I can use before I shop,” she said. “It’s
saving me money.” Thankfully, Elena now has a better idea of
how much her children need, wastes less, and focuses on
healthier meals, but there are many more people who are still in the dark about food economy

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