USDA awards $16.8 million to help SNAP participants buy fruits, veggies

August 8, 2017

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has announced 32 grants totaling $16.8 million to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants increase their purchases of fruits and vegetables. The program is operated by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and the funding comes from the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

FINI is a joint program between NIFA and USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, which oversees SNAP and is responsible for evaluating the impact of the variety of types of incentive programs that are deployed by FINI grantees. The program brings together stakeholders from different parts of the national food system to improve the nutrition and health status of SNAP households. The awards under FINI represent a variety of projects, including relatively small pilot projects, multi-year community-based projects, and larger-scale multi-year projects.

Among the grant recipients this year, The Experimental Station 61St Street, located in an underserved neighborhood on Chicago’s south side, will receive $487,197 to increase the affordability of fruits and vegetables sold in Illinois Farmers Markets for Illinois SNAP clients. The project aims to expand the SNAP Double Coupon Program incentive to an additional 80 Illinois Farmers Markets and direct-to-consumer venues. Currently, the project has funded almost 90 farmers’ markets and direct-to-consumer venues statewide and facilitated thousands of SNAP shoppers to purchase almost $500,000 of additional fresh and healthy foods with the Double Value Coupon incentives. More than 22,000 low-income Illinois residents will benefit from affordable access to the region’s freshest fruits, vegetables and other healthy goods.

Press release