Nutrition Incentive Hub Awards $300K in Mini-Grants for COVID-19 Response
Thirty-one grants will aid nutrition incentive program innovation during the pandemic
May 27, 2020 | ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Nutrition Incentive Hub awarded $300,000 to 31 organizations across the country to support SNAP incentive and produce prescription program innovations and adaptations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. SNAP stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. Mini-grants of up to $10,000 each will enable operational changes at 849 farmers markets and 168 grocery stores in 23 states in order to expand affordable access to fruits and vegetables to over 200,000 families during a time of increased need.
The Hub is a new national resource that provides training, technical assistance, reporting, and evaluation for those launching or expanding SNAP incentive or produce prescription programs. It is led by Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition in partnership with Fair Food Network along with a coalition of partners.
“Many nutrition incentive programs need to pivot in light of COVID-19 to ensure continuous access to affordable fruits and vegetables to families who need it most. We want to help them rapidly respond and maintain or expand their programs during these challenging times when the need is greater than ever,” said Noam Kimelman, director at Fair Food Network, which leads the Hub’s technical assistance work. “These grants will help programs address both short-term needs in the face of this pandemic and long-term program sustainability.”
The grants are part of the Hub’s Capacity Building and Innovation Fund, which focuses on fostering innovative approaches to communications and technology while boosting nutrition incentive use in high-need communities. This round of funding prioritized COVID-19 related adaptations, impact on nutrition incentive participants, and support for local food systems. They were available to current or former USDA Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) and Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program (FINI) grantees and are being administered by Fair Food Network in partnership with Farmers Market Coalition, Ecology Center, Michigan Farmers Market Association, and National Grocers Association Foundation.
Rural Advancement Foundation International USA (Pittsboro, NC) will use the funding to further amplify the awareness and use of SNAP incentives through new marketing materials for existing and new SNAP customers. This funding will allow one mobile market to open new market sites, a food box delivery program to expand to two delivery days, and a farmers market to offer pop-up markets at a local housing authority. They received a $10,000 award and are a 2018 FINI grantee.
University of California, San Diego (San Diego, CA) will work with ¡Más Fresco! More Fresh Nutrition Incentive Program participants and partners to assess and better understand the digital inequality that exists within underserved communities and the associated barriers to accessing and utilizing online resources. These funds will support SNAP recipients across Southern California through COVID-19 and beyond to access and utilize online resources, including www.masfresco.org, which enables SNAP recipients to enroll online in the ¡Más Fresco! More Fresh Program to secure much needed nutrition incentives. They received a $10,000 award and are a 2019 GusNIP grantee.
Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (Youngstown, OH) will use these funds to provide safer access for Mercy Health patients to fresh, healthy foods through no-contact produce box distributions to their produce prescription participants, expanding on-line ordering options at a local food co-op, and instituting a paperless system for distributing nutrition incentives at local supermarkets. They received an $8,850 award and are a 2017 FINI grantee.
See here for a complete list of all 31 awards.
About the Nutrition Incentive Hub
The Nutrition Incentive Hub, funded through a cooperative agreement from the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, is a new national resource that provides training, technical assistance, reporting, and evaluation for those working to launch or expand SNAP incentives or produce prescription programs. The Hub is led by Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition in partnership with Fair Food Network along with a coalition of evaluators, researchers, practitioners, and grocery and farmers market experts from across the country dedicated to strengthening and uniting the best thinking in the field to increase access to affordable, healthy food to those who need it most.
The Nutrition Incentive Hub (NTAE) is supported by Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Grant Program grant no. 2019-70030-30415/project accession no. 1020863 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.