The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture has announced grantees for the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive program. Utahns Against Hunger is one of 31 projects and $30 million being awarded through this historic program. Funding for this grant became available from the 2014 Farm Bill.
The purpose of the Food Insecurity and Nutrition Incentive Grant is to help low-income families participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, to have additional resources to purchase fruits and vegetables.
Utahns Against Hunger will work with community partners from Utah State University Extension, the Utah Department of Workforce Services, the Utah Department of Health and Salt Lake City Corp to implement a Utah Double-up Food Bucks program statewide in 2015. Utah Double-up Food Bucks will provide a match of up to $10.00 for SNAP customers to purchase additional produce at farmers markets.
Marti Woolford, Nutrition Initiatives Director at Utahns Against Hunger thinks providing an incentive to families is a good investment, saying “Parents want to make sure their kids are getting good nutrition and eating the right foods. This is a great way to help SNAP households stretch their food budgets and improve their nutrition. It will also help famers across the state increase their income, increasing the number of people accessing farmers markets. It’s good for the entire state of Utah.”
There are currently 21 markets throughout the state that accept SNAP benefits. Utahns Against Hunger anticipates working with all of the markets interested in implementing a program this year. Farmers markets must be approved through the United States Department of Agriculture to accept SNAP benefits. Utahns Against Hunger also has funding for markets interested in pursuing their license to accept SNAP.