New effort encourages eating of fresh produceThis summer, a pilot project will put more locally-grown fruits and vegetables on the plates of thousands of Minnesotans.
This summer, a pilot project will put more locally-grown fruits and vegetables on the plates of thousands of Minnesotans.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) is partnering with the Minnesota Grocers Association and Minnesota Grown to encourage healthy eating and better nutrition for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients.
Beginning in June, customers at select grocery stores across the state will be able to request a $5 coupon toward their next produce purchase when they pay using an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card.
Three pilot locations will be selected in the spring through a collaborative process with the Minnesota Grocers Association based on populations served and store administrative capabilities.
Minnesota Grown will provide materials to the grocers to promote local products. DHS will track project outcomes and, if successful in increasing intake of fruits and vegetables, could seek additional partners to expand the program in the future.
The pilot program will run until approximately 20,000 coupons are used. The $150,000 cost is being funded through the state’s portion of a federal bonus for increasing SNAP use among eligible residents.
Minnesota counties, which administer the federally-funded program, are sharing 75 percent of the $1.2 million award to address costs associated with rising SNAP caseloads.
In addition to the grocery store incentive, the state will put $100,000 toward a summer backpack program to help low-income children and families in need.
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