Food Assistance & Nutrition Research Program No. (FANRR-28-3) 6 pp

September 2003

Food Assistance Landscape, September 2003

Domestic food assistance programs account for over half of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) outlays. Each year, about 1 in 5 Americans is served by 1 or more of the 15 food assistance programs aimed at improving the nutrition, well-being, and food security of needy Americans. The Economic Research Service (ERS) is responsible for conducting studies and evaluations of USDA's food assistance programs, focusing on the benefits of improved diets and food choices, factors that influence diet and nutrition, and program outcomes. This report uses preliminary data from USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to examine trends in the food assistance programs at the midpoint of fiscal 2003. It also discusses two recent congressionally mandated studies conducted by ERS: an assessment of WIC cost-containment practices, and an evaluation of the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program.

Keywords: Food Stamp Program, National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, USDA Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, WIC, cost-containment, Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program

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