WASHINGTON — U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack and Marc H. Morial, President of the National Urban League, announce a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to reaffirm and strengthen the relationship between USDA and the historic civil rights organization. USDA and National Urban League share a common mission to enhance equity across the country, ensure access to adequate nutrition and improve quality of life for underserved populations.
Through this strategic partnership, 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. Moreover, this union will encourage urban agriculture as a means of increasing food production and access, making a living, and improving the environment, thereby building stronger communities.
“This signing reinforces USDA’s commitment to improving health outcomes and quality of life in the communities that we serve,” said Secretary Vilsack. “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.”
“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,” Morial 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.”
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.
Together, USDA and National Urban League will explore and develop ways to engage the civil rights organization in an effort to enhance USDA’s ability to fulfill its missions efficiently and fairly. The first phase of the partnership will focus on identifying and developing areas in which the USDA offices and agencies can improve their ability to carry out missions through cooperation with and assistance from the National Urban League. Areas include but are not limited to home ownership, access to broadband, help for veterans, and youth development.
Another common goal of this partnership will be to increase awareness and understanding of USDA programs and resources.
This partnership is in alignment with the Biden-Harris Administration’s Executive Order 13985 on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government and is another example of USDA’s commitment to advance the goals of equity to better serve the needs of traditionally underserved communities.