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Ag Secretary Announces $16.8M To Encourage SNAP Participants To Purchase Healthy Foods

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U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on Monday announced 32 grants totaling $16.8 million to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants increase their purchases of fruits and vegetables. The program is operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The funding comes from the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“These grants help provide low income families with the resources they need to consume more nutritious food. Last year, SNAP helped put healthy food on the tables of at least 44 million Americans, including 19 million children,” said Perdue. “This builds on the successes of health-related incentives, with many of the projects being conducted at farmers markets. At the same time, we’re also helping to strengthen local and regional food systems.”

FINI is a joint program between NIFA and USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, which oversees SNAP and is responsible for evaluating the impact of the variety of types of incentive programs that are deployed by FINI grantees. The program brings together stakeholders from different parts of the national food system to improve the nutrition and health status of SNAP households. The awards under FINI represent a variety of projects, including relatively small pilot projects, multi-year community-based projects, and larger-scale multi-year projects.

Grants being announced, by state, include:

FINI pilot projects (up to $100,000, not to exceed one year):

• East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, Oakland, California, $76,697

• Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, Sacramento, California, $63,494

 •The Kenny Family Foundation, Wilmington, Delaware, $45,000

• Presence Health, Chicago, Illinois, $100,000

• Iowa Healthiest State Initiative, Des Moines, Iowa, $99,587

• Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Red Lake Nation, Minnesota, $78,188

• Capacity Builders Inc., Farmington, New Mexico, $26,478

• Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York, $99,997

• Janus Youth Programs Inc., Portland, Oregon, $94,566

• Appalachian Resource Conservation & Development Council, Johnson City, Tennessee, $94,211

• Richmond City Health District, Richmond, Virginia, $98,108

Multi-year community-based projects (up to $500,000, not to exceed four years):

• Community Services Unlimited Inc., Los Angeles, California, $500,000

• Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency, Woodland, California, $500,000

• FreshFarm Markets Inc., Washington, District of Columbia, $250,000

• Atlanta Community Food Bank, Atlanta, Georgia, $250,000

• The Food Basket Inc., Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, $500,000

• Heritage Ranch Inc., Honaunau, Hawaii, $500,000

• VNA Health Care, Aurora, Illinois, $488,090

• The Experimental Station: 6100 Blackstone, Chicago, Illinois, $487,197

• Mountain Comprehensive Health Corp., Whitesburg, Kentucky, $307,916

• Crossroads Community Food Network Inc., Takoma Park, Maryland, $112,403

• Together We Can, North Las Vegas, Nevada, $500,000

• The Fortune Society Inc., New York City, New York, $498,000

• Reinvestment Partners, Durham, North Carolina, $398,960

• Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp., Youngstown, Ohio, $498,880

• Nurture Nature Center, Easton, Pennsylvania, $267,394

• Rhode Island Public Health Institute, Providence, Rhode Island, $299,844

• Grow Food d/b/a Viva Farms, Mount Vernon, Washington, $488,758

Multi-year large-scale projects ($500,000 or greater, not to exceed four years):

• California Department of Food and Agriculture, Sacramento, California, $3,944,573

• Community Farm Alliance Inc., Berea, Kentucky, $602,159

• Fair Food Network, Ann Arbor, Michigan, $3,500,000

• The Food Trust, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, $987,500

Among the grant recipients this year, The Experimental Station 61st Street, located in an underserved neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, will increase the affordability of fruits and vegetables sold in Illinois farmers markets for Illinois SNAP clients. The project aims to expand the SNAP Double Coupon Program incentive to an additional 80 Illinois farmers markets and direct-to-consumer venues. Currently, the project has funded nearly 90 farmers markets and direct-to-consumer venues statewide and facilitated thousands of SNAP shoppers to purchase nearly $500,000 of additional fresh and healthy foods with the Double Value Coupon incentives. More than 22,000 low-income Illinois residents will benefit from affordable access to the region’s freshest fruits, vegetables and other healthy goods, according to the USDA.

Since 2014, NIFA has awarded more than $65 million through the FINI program. Previously funded projects include the Farmacy Health Improvement Program project that is researching the problem of low-income people with specific medical conditions (pregnancy, type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and hypertension and/or obesity) not having access to healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables. As a result of this project, pregnant women and people diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes qualify for vouchers redeemable for $2 per day for the patient and $1 per day for each additional household member to purchase locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. The Fair Food Network (Ann Arbor, Michigan) project developed solutions that work across the food system to support farmers, strengthen local economies and increase access to healthy food—especially in low-income communities. As a result of this project, the “Double Up Food Bucks” program became a national model for other healthy food incentives that now are active in nearly 20 states. This project helps low-income Americans bring home healthier food while supporting family farmers and growing local economies.

About the author

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Kristen Cloud

A former newspaper editor and publisher, she once enjoyed leisurely perusing the grocery store aisles but, since having a baby in 2016, she is now an enthusiastic click-and-collect shopper.

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