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USDA invests $59M in Produce Prescription, Nutrition Incentive programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced an investment of $59.4 million to support the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program’s Produce Prescription and Nutrition Incentive programs designed to encourage families and individuals to eat more healthfully by increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

GusNIP programs strive to improve dietary health through increased consumption of fresh produce, improve individual and household food security, and reduce health care use and associated costs. GusNIP Nutrition Incentive programs provide incentives at the point of purchase among income-eligible consumers participating in USDA’s SNAP and income-eligible consumers participating in other USDA nutrition assistance programs. Produce Prescriptions leverage medical assistance programs to provide “prescriptions” from a health care provider for fresh fruits and vegetables.

“Since its creation in 2019, GusNIP projects have increased access to healthy foods, and this investment serves to ensure that even more consumers can provide fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables for their families,” said Dionne Toombs, acting director of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the entity administering the awards. “In fact, as a result of additional funding provided through the American Rescue Plan Act, NIFA is expanding our reach to many first-time program applicants from underrepresented communities nationwide.”

Forty-three awards make up a $20.7 million Produce Prescription Program investment through USDA’s American Rescue Plan funding for the GusNIP program. Among the 43 FY22 Produce Prescription Program proposals awarded, 95 percent are first-time applicants to the GusNIP Produce Prescription Program, and 60 percent are new entries to NIFA overall. In addition, $38.7 million will support eight GusNIP Nutrition Incentive projects.

By bringing together stakeholders from various parts of the food and health care systems, GusNIP projects help foster understanding to improve the health and nutrition status of participating households, facilitate growth in underrepresented communities, and collect and aggregate data to identify and improve best practices on a broad scale.

The National Strategy was released in conjunction with the first White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health in over 50 years.

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