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Woman holds two green peppers to buy at a farmer's market. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

GusNIP Awards First Funding to U.S. Insular Areas

Nifa Authors
Matt Browning, Public Affairs Specialist

The Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) is increasing the purchase of fruits and vegetables by low-income consumers, in turn improving the health and nutrition of participating households. For the first time since its establishment in 2019, the program has funded projects serving U.S. territories.

Named in honor of the former USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (1997-2001), GusNIP funding opportunities come in three types:

  • Nutrition Incentive (NI) projects aim to increase produce purchases by consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which operates in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands; as well as the Nutrition Assistance Program Block Grants (NAP) in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico, by providing incentives at the point of purchase.
  • Produce Prescription (PPR) projects evaluate the impact of fresh fruit and vegetable prescriptions to increase procurement and consumption of fruits and vegetables, reduce individual and household food insecurity and reduce health care usage and associated costs
  • Cooperative Agreements in partnership with NIFA offer training, technical assistance, evaluation and informational support services to potential applicants, nutrition incentive projects, produce prescription projects and to GusNIP as a whole. These services include aggregating comprehensive evaluation metrics from NI and PPR grantees to make impact findings publicly available. 

For the first time, projects were funded to organizations in Puerto Rico to support consumers participating in NAP. Additionally, a PPR award serving women veterans in Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa was made to the Pacific Islands Health Research & Education Institute in Hawaii.

Banco de Alimentos de Puerto Rico is a non-profit organization that has been operating for more than 30 years to fight hunger by distributing food, education and hope for a stronger Puerto Rico. With their GusNIP NI award, the organization will provide a financial incentive with the purchase of fruits and vegetables from local NAP-approved vendors.

With its NI award, Fundacción MMM Inc. will increase the consumption of locally grown fruits and vegetables among NAP participants in Puerto Rico through an online ordering and delivery service through Caribbean Produce Exchange, the largest food distributor in Puerto Rico for the last 25 years.

Through the PPR program launched by Pacific Islands Health Research & Education Institute, women veterans in the Pacific Islands will have increased nutrition and food-related knowledge through an educational cook-along demonstration series and access to fresh produce. Through the Healthy Teaching Kitchen eight-class series, the program aims to empower women veterans to select, prepare and consume produce, with the goal of positively impacting diet-related conditions like high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

These awards are part of the 2023 GusNIP funding cycle originally announced in November, GusNIP projects to improve access to fruits and vegetables and dietary health for eligible families. 

Farm Bill Priority Areas
Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health
U.S. States and Territories
American Samoa
Northern Mariana Islands
Puerto Rico

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