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USDA grant to incentivize use of food stamps at farmer’s markets

Double value food stamps

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A new grant program being implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture hopes to provide more access to healthy, locally-grown produce for individuals and families who rely on food stamps. The $31.5 million grant program is modeled after an existing program in Michigan and a national program available at 350 farmers markets across the country. More on the new healthy food program from NPR:

If a SNAP recipient uses $10 of their benefits at a farm market, they get $20 dollars worth of produce. The USDA grants, which have to be matched by private donations, will provide the $10 subsidy.

Those dollars benefit both low-income consumers and local, small-scale farmers. Backers of such programs say that’s good for public health and local communities. “Helping families purchase more fresh produce is clearly good for families’ health, helps contribute to lower health costs for the country, and increases local food sales for family farmers,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.

...

[Michel Nischan, founder of Wholesome Wave, which the new grant program is modeled after] thinks [the program will] have a huge impact. SNAP purchases, he points out, add up to close to $80 billion a year. “We think that if we can shift a good chunk of that $80 billion towards local and regional farming, it can actually change the food system.”

Photo: USDA (Flickr)

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