We're thrilled to announce that FRESHFARM, in partnership with Arcadia and Community Foodworks, has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program. The partners, private foundations, local government agencies, and the private sector are matching those funds, for a combined $500,000 to be spent over three years. This is the first time the USDA has awarded a FINI grant in Washington, DC, so it's a big achievement for our three organizations!
Through the FINI grant, low-income individuals and families who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can double their purchasing power when they spend their SNAP benefits at participating farmers markets to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Under this grant, every SNAP dollar spent on locally grown produce receives an additional dollar in “Fresh Match” rewards. Fresh Match tokens can only be used for fruits and vegetables at any of the 30 farmers markets managed by this coalition of partners.
This grant “means I can afford fresh vegetables. It is just like medicine for me,” said Yvonne Smith, a senior citizen and an Arcadia Mobile Market regular customer, who doubles her $30 monthly nutrition benefits with the Fresh Match program. “Using matching dollars enables me to eat healthier.”
We're delighted to be partnering with Arcadia and Community Foodworks in the FINI grant as a coalition of leaders in the local food movement in Washington, DC. What does this mean for our shoppers using SNAP and receiving Matching Dollars tokens at our markets? Once the Fresh Match program is implemented, those tokens will no longer be restricted to markets operated by FRESHFARM. Instead, shoppers will be able to use their Fresh Match tokens at any FRESHFARM, Arcadia, or Community Foodworks market, which makes up nearly 60% of the farmers markets in all of Washington, DC.
We look forward to using the FINI grant to make it easier for shoppers to use their nutrition benefits on fresh, healthy, local foods and maximize the buying power of low-income families in our community. Stay tuned for details when the Fresh Match program rolls out!