USDA Awards $31 Million in Grants to Help SNAP Participants Afford Healthy Foods

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA has awarded $31.5 million in funding to local, state, and national organizations to support programs that help participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) increase their purchase of fruits and vegetables. Recognizing that all Americans fall well short of the servings of fruits and vegetables recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the grants will test incentive strategies to help SNAP participants better afford fruits and vegetables. These grants were made through the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. 

Pilot Projects

Yolo County Department of Employment and Social Services, Woodland, CA
$100,000  |  Grant funds will be used to support the Yolo Bonus Bucks program for fruits and vegetables and supplement the incentives with nutritional information for participants to help sustain healthy eating patterns. To kick off the program, launch events will occur at each participating retailer. Two grocery store chains have committed to being partners in the project.
 
Heritage Ranch, Inc., Honaunau, HI
$100,000  |  Test a new SNAP fresh food incentive project called Buy One Fresh/Get One Local, where each dollar a SNAP user spends on fresh fruit and vegetables will be matched with coupons to purchase an equivalent value of local fresh fruits and vegetables from their grocer, grower at a farmers' market, or CSA food box.
 
Backyard Harvest, Inc., Moscow, ID
$10,695  |  Expand the Shop the Market program, which processes SNAP at five area farmers markets, allowing low-income residents to purchase fresh local food from local farmers. Outreach will be in primarily rural environments.
 
City of Aurora, Aurora, IL
$30,000  |  To make it easier for families in the SNAP program to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables the project will provide Bonus Value Tokens for all SNAP shoppers at weekly markets, allowing them to double their purchasing power for fresh produce.
 
Forsyth Farmers’ Market, Inc., Savannah, GA
$50,000  |  Establish a mobile market to deliver fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables to regular locations in low-income neighborhoods in Savannah and utilize the proven SNAP/EBT and financial incentives for doubling purchases.
 
Blue Grass Community Foundation, Lexington, KY
$47,250  |  The Bluegrass Double Dollars Program will offer incentives of up to $10 per transaction at seven locations for all qualifying SNAP transactions for the duration of the pilot project implementation period.
 
Lower Phalen Creek Project, Saint Paul, MN
$45,230  |  Test the impact of financial incentives with and without food skills training on fruit and vegetable purchases and consumption among low-income consumers participating in SNAP. 
 
Vermont Farm-to-School, Inc., Newport, VT
$93,750  |  Increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants by providing incentives at retail stores, including a coupon incentive program, consumer marketing campaign, and providing technical assistance to retailers on sourcing local food. 
 
New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association, Santa Fe, NM
$99,999  |  "Snap to Health: Double Up Food Bucks New Mexico" will increase consumption of fruits and vegetables by low-income consumers by providing SNAP incentives at farmers' markets and farm stands, along with targeted, direct-to-consumer marketing that communicates the nutritional and economic benefits of consuming locally grown produce.
 
Santa Fe Community Foundation, Santa Fe, NM
$100,000  |  MoGro's Healthy SNAP project provides a double value price incentive (spend $10, receive $10 value) for weekly fresh produce boxes for each participating SNAP family.
 
Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services, Greensboro, NC
$99,987  |  Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants through two forms of incentives: a Double Bucks program that doubles the value of SNAP purchases up to $20, and a customer rewards program that rewards repeat visits to the market.
 
Chester County Food Bank, Exton, PA
$76,543  |  The Fresh2You! Mobile Market will bring fresh produce and healthy food directly to local communities; customers shopping with SNAP benefits will receive double SNAP dollars on all produce purchases along with "reward points" for selecting highly nutritious fruits and vegetables; these points can be redeemed for healthy protein items.
 
Nurture Nature Center, Easton, PA
$56,918  |  Increase fruit and vegetable purchases by SNAP participants in Northampton County by holding food forums to discuss barriers to fresh food access in these neighborhoods and use incentives to increase SNAP participation at new and existing programs that deliver fresh, local produce through incentives.
 
Rodale Institute, Kutztown, PA
$46,442  |  The SNAP Match For Local, Organic, Healthy Food In Allentown, Pennsylvania program will incentivize the purchase of locally grown, organic vegetables and fruit with a dollar for dollar match at the point of purchase. 
 
Rhode Island Public Health Institute, Providence, RI
$100,000  |  The 'Rhody Food on the Move' mobile food markets bring discount, fresh fruit and vegetable markets into low-income underserved neighborhoods, along with providing nutrition education and cooking demonstrations in conjunction with the markets. The goal is to increase SNAP participants’ purchase and consumption of fruits and vegetables by providing financial incentives that double the value of SNAP benefits spent on fruits and vegetables.
 
San Antonio Food Bank, San Antonio, TX
$100,000  |  Determine if a combination of targeted, culturally appropriate health education and point of sale incentives can increase the purchase and consumption of fruits and vegetables among 200 pregnant and post-partum SNAP participants.
 
Multi-Year Community-Based Projects

Mandela Marketplace, Inc., Oakland, CA
$422,500  |  Increase the purchase of locally-sourced fruits and vegetables by SNAP consumers through provision of Credibles, a technologically-elegant, online direct-to consumer incentive system for use at a network of SNAP authorized retailers, including healthy retail corner store conversions and market booths operating as part of Mandela Health and Wealth Network locally-owned food system. The match is 35 cents on the dollar.
 
Market Umbrella, New Orleans. LA
$378,326  |  Increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables for low-income New Orleans residents through the initiation of SNAP incentive programs in a locally and minority-owned grocery store (Circle Foods) and year-round expansion of incentives at four Crescent City Farmers Markets.
 
Maine Farmland Trust, Belfast, ME
$249,816  |  Incentivize SNAP consumers to purchase fruits and vegetables grown by Maine farmers and sold at retailers that exclusively aggregate products from Maine farms and at food co-ops that emphasize Maine farm products, but also carry other products.
 
Farmers Market Fund, Portland, OR
$499,172  |  Increase the purchase of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants by providing dollar for dollar incentives of up to $10 at Oregon farmers markets and for CSA shares up to $250 per household per season. 
 
The Food Trust, Philadelphia, PA
$500,000  |  Test and evaluate the Food Bucks program, which provides a $2 coupon redeemable for fresh produce for each $5 SNAP purchase, effectively increasing the purchasing power of SNAP participants by 40 percent.
 
Utahns Against Hunger, Salt Lake City, UT
$247,038  |  Develop a match program that will add up to $10 in SNAP benefits (per market visit) at 21 farmers markets throughout Utah. 
 
Opportunity Council, Bellingham, WA
$301,658  |  The Whatcom Food Access Incentive program will increase fruit and vegetable purchases among low-income consumers participating in SNAP by providing incentives at the point of purchase, improving the nutrition and health status of participating households. The project will reach over 2,100 SNAP households annually.
 
Multi-Year Large-Scale Projects

Ecology Center, Berkeley, CA
$3,704,287  |  California Market Match offers dollar-for-dollar matching of SNAP benefits, designed to simultaneously reduce diet related illness among California's low-income shoppers and stabilize farming communities in some of the nation's most economically devastated farming regions. 
 
Wholesome Wave Foundation Charitable Ventures, Inc., Bridgeport, CT
$3,775,700  |  Wholesome Wave will increase purchases of fruits and vegetables by SNAP consumers by providing incentives at the point of purchase in 17 states and the District of Columbia, reaching approximately 110,000 SNAP consumers over three years. The project will benefit 3,400 small and mid-size farm vendors, work with 364 Farmers Markets, 23 CSA programs, and 38 mobile markets. Many of the projects are located in underserved communities, Promise Zones, and StrikeForce communities.
 
AARP Foundation, Washington, DC
$3,306,224  |  Implement innovative, replicable incentive programs in 22 Kroger Stores and 31 Farmers Markets in Mississippi and Tennessee designed to increase the purchase and consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables by SNAP participants.
 
Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers, Gainesville, FL
$1,937,179  |  Fresh Access Bucks enables farmers markets to accept EBT and allows SNAP users to purchase double their food dollars for fresh, Florida-grown fruits and vegetables at farmers markets. Fresh Access Bucks intends to expand to 50 markets over a three year period in at least 21 counties throughout Florida. The benefits will reach 18,564 SNAP participants.
 
Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance, Boston, MA
$3,401,384  |  Expand the Healthy Incentives Program to provide 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.
 
Fair Food Network, Ann Arbor, MI
$5,171,779  |  Expand the Double Up Food Bucks program from farmers markets to retail grocery, from seasonal to year-round (in select locations) and from tokens to technology as a means of processing transactions.
 
International Rescue Committee, Inc., New York, NY
$564,231  |  Increase availability of locally-grown, culturally appropriate fruits and vegetables among refugee and immigrant populations in Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Baltimore and Charlottesville by distributing Fresh Fund Incentives to 3,100 participants at all market venues in these four cities.
 
Washington State Department of Health, Tumwater, WA
$5,859,307  |  Offer a variety of cash incentives in 21 counties to SNAP shoppers at supermarkets and farmers markets to increase their purchases of a variety of fruits and vegetables; a social marketing and promotional campaign will raise awareness about the incentive programs. The program involves 168 Safeway stores, 86 Farmers Markets and CSAs and includes a fruit and vegetable prescription program, known as Veggie RX, at participating stores.

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