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U.S. Department of Agriculture: Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program

Deadline: December 12, 2016

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) seeks applications for the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program for fiscal year 2017 to support projects to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables among low-income consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by providing incentives at the point of purchase. The program will test strategies that could contribute to the understanding of how best to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants to inform future efforts, and develop effective and efficient benefit redemption technologies.

All FINI projects must:

  • Increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by low-income consumers participating in SNAP by providing incentives at the point of purchase
  • Operate through authorized SNAP retailers, and in compliance with all relevant SNAP regulations and operating requirements
  • Agree to participate in the FINI comprehensive program evaluation
  • Ensure that the same terms and conditions apply to purchases made by individuals with SNAP benefits and with incentives under the FINI grants program as apply to purchases made by individuals who are not members of households receiving benefits (as provided in 7 C.F.R. 278.2(b))
  • Include effective and efficient technologies for benefit redemption systems that may be replicated in other states and communities

NIFA will give priority to projects that:

  • Maximize the share of funds used for direct incentives to participants
  • Test innovative or promising strategies that would contribute to our understanding of how best to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants, that would inform future efforts
  • Develop innovative or improved benefit redemption systems that could be replicated or scaled
  • Use direct-to-consumer sales marketing
  • Demonstrate a track record of designing and implementing successful nutrition incentive programs that connect low-income consumers and agricultural producers
  • Provide locally or regionally produced fruits and vegetables, especially culturally appropriate fruits and vegetables for the target audience
  • Are located in underserved communities, particularly Promise Zones and StrikeForce communities

NIFA is soliciting applications for three types of grants: (1) FINI Pilot Projects (FPP); (2) FINI Projects (FP); and (3) FINI Large Scale Projects (FLSP):

  1. FINI Pilot Projects (FPP) support the development of projects with an infusion of federal dollars to pilot innovative strategies to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by low-income consumers participating in SNAP by providing incentives at the point of purchase. The project should be designed to create community-based food incentive projects with objectives, activities, and outcomes that are in alignment with the FINI grants program’s primary goals.
  2. FINI Projects (FP) support the development and evaluation of projects to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by low-income consumers participating in SNAP by providing incentives at the point of purchase. The projects will test strategies that could increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants to inform future efforts, and develop effective and efficient benefit redemption technologies. FPs should be designed to create or support local community-based food projects with objectives, activities, and outcomes that are in alignment with the FINI grants program’s primary goals. FP(s) are aimed at mid-sized groups developing incentive programs at the local or state level; organizations in this category are typically not new to implementing such programs, although projects are required to expand the breadth, scope or reach of these programs, rather than supplant current program resources. FPs are not in the pilot stages of development and should have established relationships with necessary partners and collaborators.
  3. FINI Large Scale Projects (FLSP) develop and evaluate projects to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by low-income consumers participating in SNAP by providing incentives at the point of purchase, using effective and efficient benefit redemption technologies. The projects will test strategies that could contribute to our understanding of how best to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants to inform future efforts. FLSP should be designed to create or support multi-county, State-wide and regional incentive programs. FLSP should be coordinated food projects with objectives, activities, and outcomes that align with the FINI grants program’s primary goals. Projects are required to expand the breadth, scope or reach of these programs, rather than supplant current program resources.

Examples of projects include, but are not limited to, innovative strategies working at point of purchase with SNAP authorized retailers, including food stores, market stands, farmers’ markets, community supported agriculture programs (CSAs), marketing and consumer cooperatives, and other SNAP authorized retailers.

Amount: Dependent upon program type:

  • FINI Pilot Projects (FPP): Up to $100,000 for a period not to exceed one year.
  • FINI Projects (FP): Up to $500,000 for a period not to exceed four years.
  • FINI Large Scale Projects (FLSP): Awards of more than $500,000 for a period not to exceed four years.

Eligibility: Government agencies and non-profit organizations. Eligible government agencies and non-profit organizations may include: an emergency feeding organization; an agricultural cooperative; a producer network or association; a community health organization; a public benefit corporation; an economic development corporation; a farmers’ market; a community-supported agriculture program; a buying club; a SNAP-authorized retailer; and a State, local, or tribal agency. Award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the conduct of the project.

Link: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/food-insecurity-nutrition-incentive-fini-grant-program

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