USDA puts $31.5 million toward healthier SNAP diet

RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 4 (UPI) —

The USDA has announced it will be allotting $31.5 million in grants to get healthy fruits and vegetables to the tables of families enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program provides grants for those with "small pilot projects, multi-year community-based projects, or larger-scale multi-year projects" that can provide healthy food to people using their SNAP allowance, or food stamps. SNAP recipients will be able to go to farmers markets and certain produce retailers and in many cases purchase produce discounted through program subsidies.

"Too many struggling families do not have adequate access to nutritious food," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

"Helping families purchase more fresh produce is clearly good for families’ health, helps contribute to lower health costs for the country, and increases local food sales for family farmers. Public-private partnerships with non-profit organizations and other community groups are already proving to have great success across the country. These resources will allow partnerships like these to help even more families."

The funds for the program were made available in the 2014 Farm Bill. About $8 billion was cut from SNAP this year. The USDA says almost half of SNAP recipients are children, and 42 percent are from households with at least one working adult.