Jun 01, 2017
Janus Youth Programs Awarded Grant for the Peninsula Incentive Project
U.S. Senator Ron Wyden congratulated Janus for receiving a $94,566 award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program. FINI grants support projects to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables to low-income consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by providing incentives at the point of purchase. Village Gardens will administer the Peninsula Incentive Project. According to Senator Wyden, “I was thrilled to learn that Janus Youth Programs earned this grant, which will ensure that more low-income individuals and families will have access to nutritious food right in their community. With so many families worrying about where their next meal will come from, this is welcomed news that should be celebrated.”
Village Market, one of Village Gardens’ neighborhood-scale community food projects, has had success implementing an incentive program which offers a 30% discount to 500 Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) customers to purchase fruit, vegetables, dairy, eggs, bulk, whole grains and other healthy pantry items. The Peninsula Incentive Project will test additional incentive models to determine best practices for both the consumer and the retailer.
With FINI funds, Village Market will build on previous success by creating a new program for SNAP recipients to earn incentives for purchasing fruits and vegetables. The program will track EBT purchases at point of purchase: for every $20 in SNAP spending at Village Market, customers will receive a $5 credit for purchasing fresh fruits or vegetables.
In parallel, the Peninsula Incentive Project will enable distribution of vegetable vouchers through partner organizations—St. Johns Center for Opportunity, Home Forward, Healthy Birth Initiative, Northwest Housing Alternatives, Cathedral Gardens, Community of Hope and the North Portland Health Center—to 150 North Portland low income residents. Participants will receive $30 vouchers to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at two farmers markets and two small grocery stores. In addition to expanding incentive programs, Village Gardens will increase the local distribution of Village Gardens’ grown produce to SNAP recipients by providing culturally relevant produce to the New Columbia Farmers Market and Village Market where many residents shop. Through FINI funding and as part of the statewide “Double Up Food Bucks” program, New Columbia Farmers Market, an incubator market supporting new and emerging farmer/vendors, will provide up to a $10 match for SNAP customers.
The Peninsula Incentive Project is an opportunity to build strategic and equitable access to healthy food that meets the needs of all North Portland neighbors. Pilot testing of this program will determine its viability for expansion to other small grocery stores.