USDA Announces $16.7 Million in Grants to Increase Fruit and Vegetable Purchases by SNAP Participants

      Posted On: October 21, 2016

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced $16.7 million available in competitive grant funding to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetable by low-income families participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formally food stamps). Funding will be awarded to eligible organizations through the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program, administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack noted:

“Recent data shows that 2015 marked the lowest figures on record for food insecurity among children—a major achievement in our country’s efforts to ensure every child has a safer, healthier future filled with unlimited opportunity. In addition, last year 7.9 million fewer people were struggling to provide adequate food for themselves or household members than when President Obama took office in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. We must continue to invest in initiatives like the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive, which are maximizing SNAP recipients’ access to healthy foods and are playing a major role in winning this battle against hunger.”

Priority will be given to projects that:

  • – Maximize the share of funds used for direct incentives to participants
  • – Test innovative or promising strategies that will contribute to a better understanding of how best to increase the   purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants
  • – Develop innovative or improved benefit redemption systems that may be replicated or scaled
  • – Demonstrate a track record of designing and implementing successful nutrition incentive programs to connect low-income consumers and agricultural producers
  • – Provide locally or regionally produced fruits and vegetables, especially culturally-appropriate fruits and vegetables for the target households
  • – Work with underserved communities, particularly in Promise Zones and StrikeForce communities

Applications are due by December 12, 2016. A free webinar for interested applicants will be held November 3, 2016 at 2:00pm EST.

Eligible government agencies and non-profits can apply for funding under three categories:

  • – Pilot projects requesting less than $100,000 over one year
  • – Multi-year community-based projects requesting less than $500,000 over no more than four years
  • – Multi-year large-scale projects requesting $500,000 or more over no more than four years

All FINI projects must operate through authorized SNAP retailers and agree to participate in the FINI comprehensive program evaluation.

Read the full press release or visit USDA NIFA website for more details.