USDA Announces $16.8 Million in Grants to Encourage Healthy Food Purchases for SNAP Participants

The grants support creative community partnerships that also benefit regional food producers and local economies along with SNAP participants

USDA Announces $16.8 Million in Grants to Encourage Healthy Food Purchases for SNAP Participants
Image: Pixabay
June 9, 2016

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has 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 U.S. 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 the 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.

The grants support creative community partnerships that also benefit regional food producers and local economies along with SNAP participants. Brief descriptions of the 2016 projects receiving funding can be found on the NIFA website. Project descriptions from 2015 are also available.

Previous grantees include the Massachusetts 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, PA 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 the USDA's efforts to improve access to safe, healthy food for all Americans and supporting the health of our next generation can be found here.

Additional information about USDA efforts to support local and regional food systems, including by increasing SNAP access at farmers markets, can be found here.