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USDA Invests $21 Million to Encourage Low-Income Families to Buy Healthy Food Options

WASHINGTON, D.C. August 2, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 24 grants totaling $21 million to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants increase their purchases of fruits and vegetables by providing incentives at the point of purchase. The funding comes from the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“We are encouraging low-income families to choose affordable and healthy food options to feed their families. NIFA has on ongoing commitment to improve the diet and health of all Americans,” said Acting NIFA Director Tom Shanower. "At the same time, the program helps growers take advantage of direct marketing and other opportunities to bolster their sales thereby improving their bottom line."

FINI is a joint program between NIFA and USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, which oversees SNAP and is responsible for evaluating the impact of the variety of incentive programs that are deployed by FINI grantees. The program brings together stakeholders from different parts of the national food system to improve the nutrition and health status of SNAP households. The FINI program supports a wide range of small pilot projects; multi-year community programs; and multi-year, large-scale initiatives.

Among the grant participants this year, Wholesome Wave Georgia provides fresh local produce to Georgia’s food-insecure families through the Georgia Fresh for Less (GF4L) incentive program. GF4L wants to implement an “e-incentive” technology and expand the program into additional sites throughout Georgia.

Another program participant, The Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention, will implement a "Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) program that provides retailers a dollar-for-dollar market match for fresh fruit and vegetable purchases by eligible SNAP participants. Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention wants to create a statewide unified DUFB program of matching markets in every region of the state.

Grant awards, by state, include:

FINI Pilot Projects (up to $100,000, not to exceed 1 year):

  • Sustainable Molokai, Hawaii, $99,963
  • The Land Connection, Illinois, $21,000
  • Pillsbury United Communities, Minnesota, $97,231
  • South Dakota State University, South Dakota, $82,223
  • West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition, Inc., West Virginia, $100,000

More information about the FINI Pilot Projects is available on the NIFA website.

Multi-year community-based projects (up to $500,000, not to exceed 4 years):

  • Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention, Arkansas, $500,000
  • International Rescue Committee, Inc., Arizona, $400,000
  • LiveWell Colorado, Colorado, $466,951
  • DC Central Kitchen Inc., District of Columbia, $500,000
  • Wholesome Wave Georgia, Georgia, $442,134
  • Presence Chicago Hospitals Network, Illinois, $394,916
  • The Experimental Station 6100 Blackstone, Illinois, $413,534
  • Chicago Horticultural Society, Illinois, $492,793
  • Iowa Healthiest State Initiative, Iowa, $480,044
  • Community Food and Agriculture Coalition, Inc., Montana, $267,153
  • Rural Advancement Foundation International - USA, North Carolina, $363,880

More information about the multi-year community-based projects is available on the NIFA website.

Multi-year large-scale projects ($500,000 or greater, not to exceed 4 years):

  • Pinnacle Prevention Corp., Arizona, $974,050
  • SPUR-San Francisco Bay Area Planning & Urban Research Assc., California, $623,430
  • Feeding Florida, Inc., Florida, $3,047,755
  • Fair Food Network, Michigan, $1,544,196
  • Reinvestment Partners, North Carolina, $1,000,544
  • Produce Perks Midwest, Inc., Ohio, $2,276,890
  • Farm Fresh Rhode Island, Rhode Island, $4,628,765
  • Local Environmental Agriculture Project, Virginia, $1,797,548

More information about the multi-year large-scale projects is available on the NIFA website.

Increasing low-income communities’ abilities to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables not only helps to improve the health of families, but also expands economic opportunities for farmers. FINI provides grants on a competitive basis to projects that help low-income SNAP participants purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables through cash incentives that increase their purchasing power at locations like farmers markets.

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension and promotes transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA's integrated research, education, and extension programs support the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel whose work results in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that combat childhood obesity, improve and sustain rural economic growth, address water availability issues, increase food production, find new sources of energy, mitigate climate variability, and ensure food safety. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science, visit, sign up for email updates or follow us on Twitter @USDA_NIFA, #NIFAimpacts.

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