USDA 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):
-Chicago Horticultural Society, Chicago, Ill., $99,973
-The Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Inc., Indianapolis, Ind., $100,000
-Michigan Physical Fitness, Health and Sports Foundation, Lansing, Mich., $29,809
-The Fortune Society, Inc., Long Island, N.Y., $100,000
-Mid-Ohio Foodbank, Grove City, Ohio, $100,000
-South Central Community Action Programs, Inc., Gettysburg, Pa., $26,242
-Vermont Department of Health, Burlington, Vt., $100,000
-City of Madison, Madison, Wis., $93,055
-Hunger Task Force, Inc., Milwaukee, Wis., $100,000
Multi-year community-based projects (up to $500,000, not to exceed 4 years):
-LiveWell Colorado, Denver, Colo., $497,806
-Wholesome Wave, Bridgeport, Conn., $499,720
-Experimental Station, Chicago, Ill., $313,499
-Community Food & Agriculture Coalition Inc., Missoula, Mont., $94,312
-Harvest Home Farmer's Market, New York, N.Y., $499,992
-Field & Fork Network Inc., Williamsville, N.Y., $393,813
Multi-year large-scale projects ($500,000 or greater, not to exceed 4 years):
-Mid-America Regional Council Community Services Corporation, Kansas City, Mo., $2,888,979
-Fund for Public Health in New York, Inc., New York, N.Y., $3,378,965
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.