The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced $41.4 million in 23 competitive grants to support projects to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables among low-income consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by providing incentives at the point of purchase. The funding comes from The Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP), reauthorized by the 2018 Farm Bill and renamed from the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program .

“Building upon the achievements of its predecessor program, FINI, GusNIP uses healthy incentives to encourage the buying of fruits and vegetables at the point of purchase. This is a win-win for those participating in SNAP and for farmers at farmers markets where many of these projects are operating. Additionally, this activity strengthens our local and regional food systems, making them more sustainable,” said NIFA Director J. Scott Angle.

GusNIP is a joint program between NIFA and USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, which oversees SNAPand is responsible for evaluating the impact of the variety of types of incentive programs being deployed by GusNIP grantees. These grantees represent a variety of peer-reviewed projects, including small pilot projects, regular projects, large-scale projects, produce prescription projects, and one training, technical assistance, evaluation, and information center project.

“One of the new components this year of the program created by the 2018 Farm Bill that we are excited about is the produce prescription projects,” Director Angle continues. “These projects present an opportunity to bring together stakeholders from distinct parts of the food and healthcare systems to foster a better understanding of how the health and nutrition status of participating households prescribed fresh fruits and vegetables is improved.”

Forsyth Farmers Market in Chatham County, Georgia, received Produce Prescription Project funding that will allow them to partner with four area health care clinics to serve 200 participants and their families each year. In Frankfort, Kentucky, the Community Farm Alliance received a Produce Prescription Project grant that will allow them to merge their efforts with the Community Farmers Market to establish a regional, multi-location produce prescription program to positively impact the dietary health outcomes of expecting mothers and their infants, through increased access to fresh Kentucky-grown produce, while supporting Kentucky farmers.

A list of the grantees and their projects is available on the NIFA website at the respective links: three GusNIP Pilot Projects, four GusNIP Projects, six GusNIP Large-Scale Projects, nine Produce Prescription Projects, and one Nutrition Incentive Program Training, Technical Assistance, Evaluation, and Information Center.

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