Washington, DC - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (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):
- Community Food Bank, Inc., Tucson, Ariz., $62,923
- Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, Little Rock, Ark., $94,000
- Chicago Horticultural Society, Chicago, Ill., $99,973
- The Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Inc., Indianapolis, Ind., $100,000
- Mountain Comprehensive Health Corp., Whitesburg, Ky., $72,360
- 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):
- Pinnacle Prevention Corp., Gilbert, Ariz., $400,000
- Youth Policy Institute, Los Angeles, Calif., $499,923
- Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative, Oakland, Calif., $155,200
- San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association, San Francisco, Calif., $308,131
- 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
- Community Service Council of Greater Tulsa, Inc., Tulsa, Okla., $481,191
Multi-year large-scale projects ($500,000 or greater, not to exceed 4 years):
- University of California-San Diego, San Diego, Calif., $3,384,909
- Mid-America Regional Council Community Services Corporation, Kansas City, Mo., $2,888,979
- New Mexico Farmers' Marketing Association, Santa Fe, N.M., $2,001,198
- 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. 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.
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 www.nifa.usda.gov/impacts,