Like other Americans, folks participating in the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) need to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. As USDA’s Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, it’s a fact that I recognize and a fact we’re working to address in innovative ways.
In recent weeks, USDA requested a new round of applications for grants provided under the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant program and launched a handy FINI grantee locator map. The FINI grant program, if you’re unfamiliar with it, was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and provides grants to test incentive strategies and technologies designed to help SNAP participants better afford fruits and vegetables. It’s collaboratively administered by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
Projects funded range from small pilot projects to multi-year community-based projects and larger scale multi-year projects, designed to help make the healthy choice an affordable choice for SNAP participants. Hundreds of farmers markets, supermarkets, convenience stores, and retail food stores of all kinds are now participating in FINI grant projects all across the country. The deadline to apply for the latest round of FINI grants is December 12, 2016. If your organization is interested in applying for a grant this year, please visit NIFA’s website.
For its part, the new locator map will help consumers find participating retailers. Users can search by location and find specific types of stores, whether they are traditional retailers, specialty food stores, or farmers markets. Find retail food stores offering incentives for fruits and vegetables near you online.
At USDA, we’re committed to providing low income families with the resources they need to consume more nutritious food. In 2015, SNAP kept at least 4.7 million Americans — including 2.1 million children — out of poverty, and programs like FINI build on the success we’ve seen with the use of healthy incentives that help make the healthy choice an affordable choice for low-income households. You can read more on the FNS FINI webpage.