Healthy Incentives Pilot Program Applications Out

      Posted On: January 13, 2010

The Healthy Incentives Program (HIP), created by the 2008 Farm Bill, supports pilot projects that help the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) evaluate the use of healthy food-purchasing incentives in its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This program will work mainly with retailers, but there may also be interest at the state level to incorporate pilot farmers markets.

Within pre-selected regions containing 35,000 -60,000 SNAP households, the pilot projects plan to return 30 percent of the cost of fruits and vegetables SNAP participants purchase to their individual SNAP benefit accounts, providing participants with receipts indicating their savings. FNS will then independently evaluate the impact of this incentive on the purchase and consumption of healthy foods by SNAP households.

In late December, FNS began soliciting applications from state SNAP agencies interested in implementing and operating a HIP pilot between December 2011 and February 2013. A questionnaire and letter of intent to apply are due on January 29, and the final application deadline is May 21. FNS is also seeking a contractor familiar with SNAP operations and with experience in designing and executing randomized experiments in community settings.

HIP shows great potential for boosting the economic availability of farmers market produce to low-income consumers—let your local SNAP agency know about the program before the January deadline passes, and encourage them to include farmers markets as keystones in their projects. Application information is available at