Growing State Support for Double Up Texas
Much of the work of our policy team is designed to broaden access to healthy foods by expanding nutrition incentive programs to more people in more places. Our team’s partnership with Sustainable Food Center and the American Heart Association, supported by funding by the Dell Foundation, ushered in the most significant geographic expansion of state SNAP nutrition incentive program funding in the South to date.
To begin, Fulmer and Canepa partnered closely with the SFC team during a two-day policy planning retreat. The teams worked together to set an advocacy strategy, identify long-term funding needs, and chart the organizational structure of a statewide Double Up Texas program. A critical piece of their strategy was the hiring of a lobbyist to advocate for statewide expansion efforts. Canepa continued to support SFC in their successful application for funding to hire Colyandro Public Affairs in fall 2022.
By January 2023, Canepa, SFC, AHA, and Colyandro helped write and refine legislation and an appropriations rider promoting SNAP nutrition incentives that was introduced to the Texas Legislature — signifying Texas’ first-ever advocacy campaign for state appropriations for nutrition incentives.
In February 2023, Fulmer and Canepa continued the momentum of the advocacy campaign by joining SFC and AHA for American Heart Association’s Advocacy Day at the Texas capitol. This event provided an opportunity for Double Up partners across the state to educate legislators about Double Up impacts in their respective districts, work to secure funding for Double Up in Texas’ 2024–25 state budget, and discuss the potential for greater impact with additional funding.
The collaborative advocacy efforts were ultimately successful. The Texas Legislature provided $6 million for SNAP incentives in its final state budget.
“Texas legislators from both sides of the aisle came together to invest in nutrition,” Canepa shared. “When the nutrition incentive community works with an ideologically diverse coalition of advocates, anything is possible.”
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