Fair Food Network Applauds Bipartisan Bill to Increase Nationwide Access to Nutrition Incentives
25 July 2023 | DETROIT, MICH. – Today, the Fair Food Network announced its support for the GusNIP Expansion Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Representatives Rick Crawford (R-AR) and Dan Kildee (D-MI), aimed at reducing barriers and improving access to nutrition incentives in the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP). The bill includes some of the important changes that Congress can incorporate in the 2023 Farm Bill to help nutrition incentives benefit more farmers and families.
“These common sense bipartisan improvements to GusNIP will reduce roadblocks so more families can access and afford fruits and vegetables,” said Kate Krauss, CEO at Fair Food Network. “The GusNIP Expansion Act is an important step forward to ensure more households with low income can improve their nutrition security while boosting income for farmers who grow the healthy food we eat. We applaud Congressmen Crawford and Kildee for their bipartisan leadership, and we look forward to building on these provisions in the 2023 Farm Bill.”
Since its inception as a pilot program in 2008, GusNIP has worked as an effective public-private partnership that has expanded healthy food choices and sparked economic opportunity in communities across the country. The program supports nutrition incentive projects at the state level, such as the Double Up Food Bucks program in Michigan and Arkansas, which enable individuals who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to use their benefits to match or discount their purchase of fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets and grocery stores. GusNIP also supports produce prescriptions that allow healthcare providers to give low-income patients vouchers to buy fresh produce so they can add more healthy food to their diet.
Over 600 farm, food, and health leaders support changes in the Farm Bill to strengthen and expand GusNIP. The economic impact of GusNIP has been considerable, generating approximately $85 million in 2022, a 107% increase from the previous year. A recent analysis shows that people who utilize nutrition incentives improve their nutrition security and eat more fruit and vegetables compared to the average American.
The bipartisan GusNIP Expansion Act will reduce barriers to increase access to nutrition incentives through a variety of improvements. The provisions in the bill will enable more partners to participate through reducing the funding match requirement, scale up programs that make incentives available statewide, and invest in training to help projects work better for participants.
“For too long, some partners have been shut out from participating in GusNIP because they could not afford to match funding,” added Krauss. “The reduction of the match requirement will enable more partners to participate and help more families access the healthy food they need and want. The provisions in this bill are one important piece of the puzzle to making nutrition incentives work better for the farmers, families, retailers, and local economies that benefit from expanded access to fresh fruits and vegetables.”
Across the country, nutrition incentive programs are benefiting communities. Many partners who have seen its success firsthand support efforts in Congress to improve and expand GusNIP:
Jeremy Adams, Project Manager, Arkansas Double Up Food Bucks: “SNAP incentive programs allow low-income households to purchase more fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables. Last season, we saw 15,000 transactions in Arkansas including many mothers with young children and seniors. For families on a tight food budget, nutrition incentives are a lifeline to healthy food. Continued support for GusNIP-funded nutrition programs is critical to scaling this program across Arkansas and increasing access to healthy foods.”
Jon David King, President, Hays Food Town, Inc: “Through the years, SNAP customers across our supermarkets have become more familiar with Double Up Food Bucks and actively seek eligible items because they know they can save money while providing healthy and nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables to their families. We urge more support for GusNIP-funded nutrition incentives so that we can continue to provide and expand the Double Up Food Bucks program to our customers.”
Karianne Martus, Market Manager at Flint Farmers Market: “Since it began over a decade ago, the Fair Food Network Double Up Food Bucks Program has changed the face of the Flint Farmers’ Market. It has made a lasting impact on the health of families in need and simultaneously supported farmers along the way. I truly cannot imagine our market or our community without Double Up Food Bucks as a part of it. We are truly grateful.”
In this key decision-making year for the Farm Bill, Fair Food Network is working closely with partners across the country through the Alliance for National Nutrition Incentives (ANNI) to ensure federal and state support for SNAP and nutrition incentive programs. To learn more about the ANNI Priorities, click here.
To view the text of the legislation, click here.
Andi Nank, email@example.com, 734. 213.3999 x221
About Fair Food Network
Fair Food Network is a national nonprofit and investor that grows community health and wealth through food. We transform how resources flow through the food economy for a more fair and resilient future. Our approach integrates policy advocacy that brings proven solutions to scale, partnerships that increase our collective impact, and investments in food organizations and businesses that serve their communities. We’re building a world in which everyone has access to healthy choices, economic opportunity, and a resilient environment. We believe that when we start with food, everything else is possible.