$16.8 million in grants to encourage healthy food purchases for SNAP participants

June 08, 2016

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2016 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today awarded $16.8 million in competitive grants to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants increase their purchases of fruits and vegetables. The funding comes from the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and administered by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

"USDA is committed to providing low income families with the resources they need to consume more nutritious food. Last year, SNAP kept at least 4.7 million Americans -- including 2.1 million children -- out of poverty," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Programs like FINI build on the success we've seen with the use of healthy incentives and with many of the projects being run at farmers markets, 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 being 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.

Fiscal year 2016 awards include:

Pilot projects (up to $100,000, not to exceed 1 year):Multi-year community-based projects (up to $500,000, not to exceed 4 years):Multi-year large-scale projects ($500,000 or greater, not to exceed 4 years): The grants support creative community partnerships that also benefit regional food producers and local economies along with SNAP participants. Brief descriptions of each project can be found on the NIFA website and 2015 project descriptions are also available. Previous grantees include the Mass. Department of Transitional Assistance for a multiyear program providing a dollar-for-dollar match for each SNAP dollar spent on targeted fruits and vegetables purchased at Farmers' Markets, Farm Stands, Mobile Markets, and CSAs statewide. The Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Penn. received 2015 funds for incentives to purchase of locally grown, organic vegetables and fruit with a dollar for dollar match at the point of purchase.

More information about USDA's efforts to improve access to safe, healthy food for all Americans and supporting the health of our next generation can be found on USDA's Medium chapter, Growing a Healthier Future. Additional information about USDA efforts to support local and regional food systems, including by increasing SNAP access at farmers markets, can be found in the New Markets, New Opportunities Medium chapter.

SNAP - the nation's first line of defense against hunger - helps put food on the table for millions of families experiencing hardship. The program has never been more critical to the fight against hunger. Nearly half of SNAP participants are children, and more than 42 percent of recipients live in households in which at least one adult is working but still cannot afford to put food on the table. SNAP benefits provided help to millions who lost their jobs during the Great Recession. For many, SNAP benefits provide temporary assistance, with the average new applicant remaining on the program 12 months.

Since 2009, NIFA has invested in and advanced innovative and transformative initiatives to solve societal challenges and ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. NIFA's integrated research, education, and extension programs, supporting the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel, have resulted in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that are combating childhood obesity, improving and sustaining rural economic growth, addressing water availability issues, increasing food production, finding new sources of energy, mitigating climate variability, and ensuring food safety. To learn more about NIFA's impact on agricultural science, visit http://www.nifa.usda.gov/impacts, sign up for email updates, or follow us on Twitter @usda_NIFA, #NIFAimpacts.
-end-
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992(English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay)

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

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