Connection and Collaboration: Nutrition Incentive Hub 2021 National Convening Recap

      Posted On: April 6, 2021

By now, you’ve probably heard us talk about FMC’s role in the Nutrition Incentive Hub. A quick recap: FMC, Ecology Center and Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) make up the Farm Direct Team within the Nutrition Incentive Hub. We represent and provide support for farm direct operations like farmers markets, CSA’s and farm stands. The Nutrition Incentive Hub was created by the National Technical Assistance (NTAE) to offer technical assistance and support the organizations that receive Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) funding and is working to increase access to fruits and vegetables through nutrition incentives. This is a very abbreviated version. You can read the specifics of the Nutrition Incentive Hub and FMC’s role on our GusNIP Grantee Support page.

The Nutrition Incentive Hub is made up of partner organizations representing different sectors of the food system. This wealth of knowledge was displayed during the 2021 Nutrition Incentive Hub National Convening in early March. This two day event was an opportunity for GusNIP grantees to learn from organizations and food leaders who are working in the nutrition incentive field.

The Farm Direct Team participated in the Convening by coordinating and presenting 9 farm direct focused sessions. The sessions included topics such as the impact of nutrition incentive programs in CSA programs, creative community outreach solutions, and implementing EBT technology at farm direct sites. The sessions brought together representatives from the Farm Direct Team organizations and market operators who offered first hand experience and tips on what it takes to run a successful nutrition incentive program.

In case you missed it, check out the sessions below!

EBT Technology: (not so) Plain and (not so) Simple
Presented by: Joe Lesausky (MIFMA) & Katie Myhre (FMC)

There are a lot of ways you can describe EBT Point of Sale technology. “Plain and simple” is hardly one of them. Join Farm Direct Technical Assistance team members as they demystify and share pros and cons on the technological choices for processing SNAP in a farm direct setting. Join the action by participating in an interactive roundtable to explore newly created guides for farm direct sites and chat about the resources you want to see come to life. Participants will leave this session with the tools to be a source of support and technical assistance to their farm direct sites.


Building Capacity for People Powered Programs
Presented by:  Brittany Steffey( Community Farm Alliance), Davida Douglas (Alchemist CDC), Allison Tohme (Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance)

It takes more than just a snap of the fingers to make SNAP incentives work in farm direct settings. In this session, GusNIP grantees share the ways they’ve supported capacity building at their partner farmers’ markets and farm sites. Attendees will leave this session inspired to help their farm direct sites build and maximize their people power through initiatives like staffing scholarships, fundraising support, and more.


Nutrition Incentives 101: A Brief History & Overview (Power and Potential of Incentives)
Presented by: Dar Wolnik (FMC), Noam Kimelman (Fair Food Network), Noah Fulmer (Fair Food Network), Tim O’Connor (NGAF Technical Assistance Center)

New to the field of nutrition incentives? Now is the time to get all your questions answered. No question is too silly or elementary. The session will begin with a 15-minute overview presentation from Fair Food Network’s Noah Fulmer, followed by 30 minutes of Q&A with Noah, National Grocers Association Foundation’s Tim O’Connor, and Farmers Market Coalition’s Darlene Wolnik.


State Funding of Nutrition Incentive Programs (Power and Potential of Incentives)
Presented by: Elizabeth Borst (Virginia Community Food Connection), Alex Canepa ( Fair Food Network) , Molly Notorianni (Farmers Market Fund), Frank Tamborello (Hunger Action Los Angeles) , Adrienne Udarbe (Pinnacle Prevention)

In this roundtable session recorded in February of 2021, network leaders with experience obtaining state-level funding for nutrition incentives share their insights and experiences around the process of executing a campaign.


Incorporating CSA & Box Programs
Presented by: Holly Hutchison (Pacific Northwest CSA Coalition) Megan Larmer ( Glynwood: CSA is a SNAP program), Ali Jacobs (Mill City Grows) Moderator: Jacqui VanLiew (Ecology Center), Jenna Fahle (Ecology Center), Rachael Ward (FMC)

Incorporating Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms and farmers market box programs into your SNAP incentive program is an innovative way to expand local food access. This session will be an opportunity to learn from organizations that are offering SNAP incentives through these produce delivery methods and how they are managing everything from pick-up logistics to SNAP processing. Whether you’re already working with CSA and box programs, or considering incorporating this option, this session is for you.


Perspectives on the Future of Nutrition Incentives (Power and Potential of Incentives)
Presented by: Ben Feldman (FMC), Sara Jon (New England Nutrition Incentives Collaborative), Chris Jones (National Grocers Association), Eli Zigas (SPUR), Jennifer Pomeranz (NYU School of Global Health), Noam Kimelman (Fair Food Network), Mark Nicholson (Fair Food Network)

Federal funding for nutrition incentives has mushroomed from $20M in 2008 to $100M in 2014 to $250M in 2018. As the field grows and the health and economic benefits become more clear, how might we ensure continued growth and success? What are the roles of federal, state, and philanthropic funding in sustaining and growing the field? What are the key considerations? Where do we go from here? Join us for a discussion with authors and collaborators of three recently published articles and three national experts.


Creative Solutions for Community Outreach (Strategic Outreach and Partnerships)
Presented by: Jenna Fahle (Ecology Center), Amy Kone (Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition), Victoria Raschke (Double Up Food Bucks Mississippi)

Successful outreach takes great communication, active listening, and community engagement. Learn from experienced practitioners in brick & mortar and farm-direct settings about how they developed creative, flexible, and measurable solutions to build awareness and engagement in their nutrition incentive programs.


Grassrooting for Success: Leveraging the Value of Community Engagement (Farm Direct Retail)
Presented by: Lucy Asako Botlz (Ecology Center), & Joe Lesausky (MIFMA), Shannon Klisch (University of California Cooperative Extension)

Learn how organizations have leveraged community engagement and strengthened peer-to-peer outreach approaches at farmers markets. Our panelists have specific experience working with SNAP-ed organizations, one with a focus on conducting community needs assessments and the other with a nutrition education focus. They will be presenting their navigator/ambassador program models and offering insight on the work required to implement and administer these programs.

We’re honored to have had the opportunity to present alongside so many passionate experts and are excited to continue to support the success of nutrition incentive programs in farm direct sites. Check the FMC site for updates on the work the Farm Direct Team and Nutrition Incentive Hub are doing with GusNIP grantees.