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USDA NIFA Invests Over $34M to Support Healthy Eating for Low-Income Americans

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Nov. 24, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced an investment of over $34 million to support greater food access and nutrition security for low-income and at-risk communities through the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP).
“We want to ensure all Americans have access to healthy, affordable, and fresh food,” said National Institute of Food and Agriculture Director Dr. Carrie Castille. “As we approach the holiday season, we should be mindful that over 13 million American families are food insecure. USDA continues to use every resource at our disposal to bolster both food and nutrition security for these vulnerable Americans. Programs like GusNIP play a key role in helping families purchase and eat more fresh fruits and vegetables while giving them a chance for better health outcomes, not just during the holidays, but year-round.”
This investment is part of the NIFA’s Nutrition Incentive Projects and Produce Prescription Projects that provide incentives to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by low-income families, Tribal communities and other at-risk communities. The investments go to organizations that directly serve these communities.
Collectively, this funding will support 39 projects:

“NIFA supports USDA’s efforts to prioritize nutrition security across our portfolio of grant programs,” Castille said. “This year, NIFA invested more than $122 million in projects that promote nutrition security across the nation.”

Examples of fiscal year 2021 funded GusNIP Nutrition Incentive projects:

  • Wholesome Wave Georgia will increase access to fresh, wholesome food for all Georgians while contributing to the local food economy. Through the Georgia Fresh for Less program, they will match each federal nutrition benefit dollar spent at partnering farmers markets and farms, leveraging existing government food nutrition programs to encourage local shopping and improve the health of participating Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients. ($500,000)
  • FreshFarm Markets, Inc., of Washington, D.C. will establish a Metro Washington Region Incentive Program Coalition of at least 110 famers markets, fostering public and private marketing collaboration, and improving SNAP incentives and redemption. Over four years, this project will increase fruit and vegetable purchases for 20,000 SNAP households with $1,180,000.00 in incentives. ($1,426,146)
  • New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association will increase the consumption of locally produced fruits and vegetables for low-income New Mexicans through a 65% expansion of its Double Up Food Bucks program, a partnership with the New Mexico Farmers' Marketing Association and numerous partners. ($3,292,364)

Examples of fiscal year 2021 funded GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Project Supplements:

  • Together We Can (North Las Vegas, Nevada)’s Double Up Food Bucks Las Vegas Expansion Program, implemented through a collaborative partnership, will provide a financial incentive for SNAP participants in Clark and Washoe Counties to increase fruit and vegetable purchases, and expand the program into Northern Nevada and Tribal Communities.  Supplemental funds will support increased media outreach to connect with community members that may not know about the Double Up Food Bucks Las Vegas Expansion Program.  ($17,598)
  • Farm Fresh Rhode Island and its partners will expand use of nutrition incentives across New England in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, to create the New England Nutrition Incentive Collaborative (NENIC). NENIC will reach over 20,000 consumers, at more than 250 outlets for locally grown fruits and vegetables and significantly contribute to SNAP fruits and vegetables incentive programs. To reach more consumers, supplemental funds will also help provide more outlets, delivery programs, and the FreshEBT App.  ($1,691,700)
  • Community Farm Alliance’s Kentucky Double Dollars Program builds on four years of successful programs in Kentucky by merging Community Farm Alliance's farmers market Double Dollars Program and Bluegrass Farm to Table's piloted Bluegrass Double Dollars Program, providing SNAP user incentives in 22 counties. With supplemental funding, Community Farm Alliance will double the number of participating retail locations and increase the incentives at farmers markets and retail locations. ($251,184)

Examples of fiscal year 2021 funded GusNIP Produce Prescription projects:

  • Williamson Health & Wellness Center’s (WHWC) produce prescription program in Mingo County, West Virginia, and Pike County, Kentucky, will increase fruit and vegetable consumption, increase nutritional knowledge, and improve key health measures in WHWC patients who are experiencing or at-risk for diabetes or obesity. ($466,509)
  • Parkview Hospital, Inc. (Allen County, Indiana) proposes to expand Veggie Rx to HEAL from 30 individuals to 850 individuals.  The project aims to improve the amount of fresh produce that is available to adults experiencing food insecurity and who are on Medicaid or uninsured with prediabetes, diabetes, cardiac diseases or an at-risk pregnancy. ($466,373)
  • Share Our Strength will provide produce prescriptions to 1,250 households enrolled in Aetna Medicaid with children at risk for obesity through the Healthy Families Produce Rx program in Acadiana and Northshore Regions of Louisiana. ($466,500)

Learn more about the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program.
NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and Extension across the nation to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA supports initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture and applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice. In FY2020, NIFA’s total investment was $1.95 billion.
Twitter: @USDA_NIFA; LinkedIn: USDA-NIFA.

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