The USDA has granted $3,401,384 to The Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (MDTA) to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants better afford fruits and vegetables. MPHA is excited to hear this news and learn what it means for Massachusetts. Protecting access to SNAP benefits and establishing a statewide Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) are policy priorities for MPHA in 2015-2016 as part of our effort to ensure that all communities have access to healthy affordable food. SNAP is our nation’s first line of defense against hunger and after the success of the HIP pilot in Hampden County, MA, we know the state as a whole will benefit from the healthy eating incentives HIP would provide.
The grant was given through the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive program (FINI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. Programs in 26 states will receive funding for pilot projects which span up to one year or up to four years. Massachusetts is one of 8 states to receive a grant for a large-scale, multi-year project. The projects well help policymakers determine the best way to incentivize SNAP recipients to make healthier purchases. Priority was given to projects in under-served areas that can be replicated, use direct-to-consumer marketing, connect low-income consumers with agricultural producers, and provide locally or regionally produced fruits and vegetables.
Read the USDA’s News Release here.