Federal Farm Bill 2014: Update on the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive program

As we have provided updates on the passage of the 2014 "farm bill" in previous newsletters, we would like to communicate that although the recent bill included language to provide funding for SNAP incentive programs (like Produce Perks) at the national level, that the details around implementation and administration of this public support are still being considered. FPC has been engaging with our national partners, Wholesome Wave and local regional partners, Countryside Conservancy in Summit County to provide recommendations to USDA on how this support will translate at the local level and how it will impact how we do incentive programs in Cuyahoga County and NEO. Check out information Countryside's markets and their SNAP incentive program, Carrot Cash.

Wholesome Wave has been seeking input and engaging program practitioners (groups that run incentive programming on the ground already) around this policy as it develops. Through webinars, conference calls and surveys, they have been aggregating recommendations from groups like FPC in drafting formal correspondence with USDA as this program language is fine tuned.

Some points coming out of the recent webinar by Wholesome Wave include:

Practitioner excitement around FINIP:

Increases access to affordable, healthy food

Prioritizes locally and regionally grown food

Supports the growth of regional food systems and

boosts rural economies

Creates a sustainable funding source

Builds evidence for long term policy change

 

Funding:

 A total of $100 Million is available through FINIP for grants over the 5 year life of the Farm Bill

  • 10% of these funds will go towards program evaluation

 

What Are the Program Requirements?:

Matching Requirements

Increase Fruit and Vegetable Purchase by SNAP Participants

Evaluation

Equal treatment of SNAP participants

Effective and Efficient Technologies for

SNAP Redemption

 

Could FINIP Funds End Up at Gas stations, Supercenters, and Convenience Stores?:

Possibly. Independent and smallsize chains may be eligible apply for this funding


Opportunities for FPC to engage once legislation is passed:

Formal comments via rule-making (Wholesome Wave is not sure if USDA will chose this option)

- OR -

Informal input on RFP development

Submit letters to USDA

Meet with USDA representatives

Some background in USDA’s rule making process: 

Concept: “Rule-making” ensures stakeholders affected by a policy, regulation, or program have a say in how it affects them. Comments are provided to an Agency.

History: Administrative Procedures Act of 1946, introduced in the post-WWII federal expansion.

Use: Economically significant policies, impacting the economy by $100 million in a year, need a rule. Other policies may need a rule; not always clear.

 FPC is currently communicating with Wholesome Wave on a public process for citizens to engage in this policy as it develops.