The United States of America is the world’s third largest and populous country. It has the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world,with a per capita GDP of $48,100 and total market value of $15.6 trillion. The United States gained its independence in 1776 when it successful defeated the British during the Revolutionary war. Overtime, the U.S would have a number of internal conflicts, most notably the Civil War from 1861-1865 and Civil Rights Movement from 1958-1968, but has remained a stable democratic state.
In the past two years 2.6 million people slipped into poverty in the United States. The percent of Americans living below poverty last year, 15.1 percent, was the highest level since 1993. The poverty line in 2010 for a family of four was $22,314 annually, this equates to $61 dollars a day to take care of all basic needs. In the United states, more than one out of six children live in a household with food insecurity, which means they do not always know where they will find their next meal.
Family farmers are being forced out of business at an alarming rate. According to Farm Aid, every week 330 farmers leave their land. As a result, there are now nearly five million fewer farmers in the United States than there were in the 1930’s. Of the remaining farms, only a small percentage are small to medium family operations. As established family farms are shut down, they are not being replaced by new farms and young farmers. Very few young people become farmers today and half of all U.S. farmers are between the ages of 45 and 65, while only 6% of all farmers are under the age of 35.
Unhealthy eating and physical inactivity are leading causes of death in the U.S. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, unhealthy eating and inactivity cause 310,000-580,000 deaths every year. Diet- and inactivity-related diseases are expensive. Better nutrition could reduce the cost of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes by $71 billion each year.
Due to the increase in poverty and the increasingly high rates of food insecurity and poor nutrition within the country, small and medium size farms as well as other food related social enterprises are needed to address the problem. Increasing awareness of the epidemic challenges and the food system connection has made local food an emerging and powerful trend that Heifer will use to create jobs, improve access and steward environmental sustainability. National and state and local governments have prioritized local food but they lack community development capacity that Heifer offers. Heifer USA is positioned to seize the opportunity for leveraging funding and expertise of our partners. Heifer supporters are excited to have the opportunity to see and support our domestic work and there is a great opportunity to re-connect to existing supporters on the ground as well as recruit new supporters.
Heifer's Work in The United States of America
Heifer’s first project in the USA provided dairy cows for twenty five families in Arkansas in 1947. In the early days much of Heifer’s project work in the USA was implemented by committed volunteers, sometimes with the support of Heifer’s Regional Directors. Regional Directors and volunteers identified potential project partners in the USA and served as Heifer’s contact with the groups if a project was approved. Gradually, regional program areas developed and dedicated staffing to support projects began in the mind-1980s.
In 2004 Heifer created the “USA Country Program” to integrate projects and regional program offices.
Currently, Heifer’s USA Country Program is working with over 90 projects across 27 states. Two Program Managers guide 12 full time field coordinators working one on one with partners and project members. Our country program office also has dedicated administrative and programmatic support staff that make our work possible.
Despite being a “rich” country, the need for Heifer’s work here at home is more urgent than ever.
Key Services Heifer Provides:
Sustainable agricultural production: Sustainable food systems; Agroecology
Post-harvest management and processing: Organizing small scale farmers to process products
Market development: Employing the “Collective Impact Model”; Empowering smallholder farmers to access diverse local, regional and national markets
Technology: Nutrichemicals, Alternative fuel education
Nutrition: Encourage selling fresh local produce in local markets
See where Heifer is working around the world to end hunger.
Big, sweet Dwight “Bubba” Smith is the Associate Pastor (Alan Rice is the Senior Pastor) of Crossfire, an admittedly unorthodox United Methodist Church.
American poverty is the great silent shame of our time.
Ronnie Seruyange, 26, used to be an orphaned street kid in Uganda.
McAuliffe Elementary used the Read to Feed program by Heifer International to help change the world.
They plan on heading to London to participate in the Mongol Rally, a 10,000 kilometer, six-week jaunt that will take them across Eurasia in a second-hand car
Getting pledges from their parents for running laps around a track
John Palmer art studio in TX – selected Heifer as charity of the year!
Fountain Lake School raised an ark, designated for Seeds of Change.
Small school in Reed, Ark. raised an ark.
What really touches me is reading the letters of participants in our education programs which show we are truly doing work that will make the world a better place.
High School raises $2K for Heifer International
Geography 101 is not one of those college courses that immediately grabs one’s attention. For most, it is simply another three hours closer to a degree, a bridge to cross along the way to a recognition of higher learning. Few would expect their life to be changed in a 1st year geography survey class….right? And often the teaching of those classes is the begrudging grunt-work of professors who would rather be working on a soon-to-be published article or research grant...correct? Not necessarily.