New GusNIP Improvement Act Will Boost Nationwide Access to Nutrition Incentives
4 October 2023 | WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) introduced the GusNIP Improvement Act, a bill to enhance access to nutrition incentives by reforming the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP). The bill embodies essential modifications that Congress can integrate into the 2023 Farm Bill so nutrition incentives can have greater benefit to more farmers and low-income families.
“Senator Hirono’s legislation brings tangible enhancements to GusNIP, helping more families afford and eat more fruits and vegetables,” said Kate Krauss, CEO at Fair Food Network. “This advances our collective journey towards increased nutrition security, supporting healthier households and bolstering income for farmers. We applaud Senator Hirono for her foresight and leadership, and we are excited to build on this legislation in the forthcoming 2023 Farm Bill.”
Since its pilot launch in 2008, GusNIP has served as a productive public-private partnership that has expanded healthy food options and sparked economic opportunities in communities nationwide. GusNIP supports state-level nutrition incentive initiatives, such as Fair Food Network’s own Double Up Food Bucks program in Michigan and the Food Basket and the Hawai’i Good Food Alliance’s Da Bux in Hawaii. Nutrition Incentive programs like Double Up allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants to use their benefits to match or discount their purchase of fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets and grocery stores. GusNIP also supports Produce Prescription programs that offer healthcare providers the opportunity to issue produce vouchers to low-income patients, promoting healthier diets.
Over 600 farm, food, and health leaders support changes in the Farm Bill to strengthen and expand GusNIP. The economic impact of GusNIP has been considerable, generating approximately $85 million in 2022, a 107% increase from the previous year. A recent analysis shows that people who utilize nutrition incentives improve their nutrition security and eat more fruit and vegetables compared to the average American.
Senator Hirono’s GusNIP Improvement Act would inject annual funding of $150 million into GusNIP, reducing burdensome match requirements and creating new grant tiers designed to encourage and expand existing programs. The Act also allows for the waiver of matching requirements for smaller GusNIP projects under $100,000, giving more grantees the opportunity to establish and expand their programs.
“Picture the mother working two jobs, trying to put fruits and vegetables on the table for her kids; this bill is her ally,” Krauss said. “It steps in to bridge the gap, offering that critical boost to make nutritious meals a reality. And consider the farmer down the road, counting on selling all their crops to make ends meet. This bill ensures families don’t have to choose between medication and a healthy meal, or that farmers must limit how many crops they grow in fear of waste. With the GusNIP Improvement Act, it’s not just about making our food systems better, it’s about making a real difference in people’s lives.”
The Alliance for National Nutrition Incentives (ANNI) is dedicated to working with partners across the country to ensure federal and state support for SNAP and nutrition incentive programs in the 2023 Farm Bill. For more information about the ANNI Priorities, click here.
Contact: Andi Nank, firstname.lastname@example.org, 734. 213.3999 x221
About the Alliance for National Nutrition Incentives
Alliance for National Nutrition Incentives (ANNI) is a collective of state, regional, and national stakeholders seeking to advance common priorities for GusNIP in the 2023 Farm Bill. Learn more here.