Applying Racial Equity to U.S. Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs - Flipbook - Page 20
Increase access to and consumption of healthier food options
As earlier mentioned, communities of color (see glossary) are at higher risk of consuming fewer nutritious foods since they
have less access (see glossary) to full-service grocery stores.
• Expand SNAP Matching Programs. Over the years, USDA has introduced pilot programs that match SNAP benefits to
give participants additional benefits to spend on nutritious foods. Expanding the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI)
Grant Program (recently renamed the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive
Program),67 as well as the Healthy Incentive Program (HIP), would complement
DID YOU KNOW THAT…
an increase in monthly SNAP benefits.
90 percent of Hawaii’s food
is imported? The majority of
stores that sell healthy foods
are located in higher income
neighborhoods, leaving many
Native Hawaiians (who are
income) in food deserts with
limited access to healthy food.
In both programs, the extra resources can be spent on fruits and vegetables. For
example, by participating in the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program
(GSNIP), also known as Double Up Food Bucks, a mobile farmer’s market
in Pittsburgh was able to provide a $2 physical coupon for every $5 in SNAP
benefits spent on fruits and vegetables, with no cap.68 In a HIP pilot, recipients
received an additional $3.65 per month on average, which led to their spending
an additional $1 on fresh fruits and vegetables in participating stores and an
additional $6 on total fruit and vegetable purchases.69
The 2018 Farm Bill made GSNIP a permanent program, which is an
encouraging step forward.70
USDA should work with farmer’s market networks to remove barriers
and increase participation in matching programs. Some farmer’s markets,
particularly in Hawaii,71 do not yet have the technology to accept EBT
cards and/or do not participate for unspecified reasons.
Local governments should also consider creating or expanding
matching programs for fruits and vegetables. Indianapolis, Seattle, and
Washington, DC, offer programs that double the amount of SNAP
benefits spent on vegetables and fruits at participating grocery stores
and farmer’s markets. Each participant can access extra benefits up to
a daily cap (which ranges from $20 to $50). Matching programs make
it more realistic for SNAP participants to buy healthy foods. For more
information, see Appendix 14.
• Increase funding for the Healthy Food Finance Initiative (HFFI).
While this recommendation is not directly under SNAP, it directly
impacts SNAP’s ability to achieve its objective of strengthening
nutritional outcomes among low-income households. Like SNAP (and
FINI), HFFI receives its authorization and funding from the farm
bill. For nearly a decade, HFFI has demonstrated that it is an effective
public-private approach that builds an equitable food system, which
benefits farmers, business owners,, and consumers.72
APPLYING RACIAL EQUITY TO U.S. FEDERAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS: SNAP, WIC AND CHILD NUTRITION
Joseph Molieri for Bread for the World
In addition to determining how best to expand matching programs,
USDA should consider how HIP could better reflect the MyPlate
recommendations, which encourage Americans to fill half their plates
with fresh fruits and vegetables.