Programs to Improve Affordability

Federal Level

The Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) pools money from USDA, Health and Human Services (HHS) and Treasury to offer incentives for markets to build in food deserts. HFFI offers incentives for fresh-food retailers in the United States to open or expand stores in underserved communities to make affordable, healthier food options more accessible in areas identified as food deserts. In addition to promoting health benefits by combating food deserts, the initiative will help create jobs in communities.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest of the federal nutrition programs.  It provides monthly benefits to recipients through an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, which can be used to buy foods and beverages at authorized outlets.

The WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) was established to provide fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables to WIC (the federal program Women, Infants, and Children) participants, and to expand the awareness, use of, and sales at farmers markets.  The program allows eligible WIC participants to use issued FMNP coupons in addition to their regular WIC benefits. These coupons can be used to buy program-eligible foods from farmers markets or roadside stands that have been approved by the state agency to accept FMNP coupons.

The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) was also developed to award grants to states to provide low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for program-eligible foods.