USDA award funds for SNAP incentive programs

April 8, 2015

Source: The Packer
Author: Tom Karst

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $31.5 million for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participants to increase purchases of fruits and vegetables. 
The USDA is funding SNAP (food stamp) projects in 26 states for up to four years. 
“Encouraging low-income families to put more healthy food in their grocery baskets is part of USDA’s ongoing commitment to improving the diet and health of all Americans,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a news release. “These creative community partnerships also benefit regional food producers and local economies along with SNAP participants.”
The grants were made through the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive program authorized by the 2014 farm bill, according to the release.
The Fair Food Network, Ann Arbor, Mich., received $5.17 million to expand Double Up Food Bucks, which matches the value of SNAP purchases made at participating sites to spend on fresh, regionally grown produce. Officials with the Fair Food Network said the USDA funds will be matched with private funds for a total of nearly $10.4 million. The money will expand the program to more farmers markets and grocery stores in Michigan. Since 2009, Double Up has expanded from five farmers markets in Detroit to more than 150 sites across Michigan, according to the release.
Other projects receiving funds are:
  • Ecology Center, Berkeley, Calif.: $3.7 million for California Market Match, which offers dollar-for-dollar matching of SNAP benefits;
  • Wholesome Wave Foundation Charitable Ventures Inc., Bridgeport, Conn: $3.7 million for Wholesome Wave, which increases purchases of fruits and vegetables by SNAP consumers in 17 states and the District of Columbia;
  • AARP Foundation, Washington, D.C.: $3.3 million for incentive programs in 22 Kroger Stores and 31 farmers markets in Mississippi and Tennessee; 
  • Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers, Gainesville, Fla.: $1.9 million for Fresh Access Bucks, which allows farmers markets to accept electronic benefit transfers;
  • Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance, Boston, Mass.: $3.4 million to expand the Healthy Incentives Program to provide a dollar-for-dollar match for each SNAP dollar spent on produce at farmers’ markets, farm stands, mobile markets, and community-supported agriculture programs statewide.
  • International Rescue Committee Inc., New York, N.Y.: $564,231 to increase availability of local fruits and vegetables among refugee and immigrant populations in Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Baltimore and Charlottesville;
  • Washington State Department of Health, Tumwater: $5.85 million to offer cash incentives in 21 counties to SNAP shoppers.
The full list of grant awards is available on the USDA website .
First posted on The Packer on April 1, 2015.