Please note that the Grassroots Guide has not yet been updated to reflect changes made by the 2018 Farm Bill, which was passed and signed into law in December 2018. We are in the process of updating the Guide and expect to publish an updated version in the spring of 2019. In the meantime, please use this guide for basic information about programs and important resources and links for more information, but check with USDA for any relevant program changes made by the 2018 Farm Bill. Also, check out our blog series covering highlights from the new farm bill.
Increasing low-income communities’ abilities to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables not only helps to improve the health of families, but also expands economic opportunities for farmers. The Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives (FINI) Program provides grants on a competitive basis to projects that help low-income consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables through cash incentives that increase their purchasing power at locations like farmers markets.
Learn More about FINI!
Created in the 2014 Farm Bill, the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives Program (FINI) provides competitively awarded grants to nonprofit organizations and government agencies, including agricultural cooperatives, farmers markets, community-supported agriculture programs (CSAs), SNAP-authorized retailers, emergency feeding organizations, community health organizations, and economic development corporations, among others, for projects that increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by low-income consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by providing cash incentives at the point of purchase.
The 2014 Farm Bill provides FINI with $100 million in mandatory funding between 2014-2018. USDA released the first Request for Applications (RFA) for 2014-2015 in September 2014, which made $31.5 million available in grants from combined funding for fiscal years (FY) 2014 and 2015. The inaugural round of awards was announced in April 2015.
Applications are accepted for the following three types of projects:
(1) FINI Pilot Projects are one-year projects with a grant maximum of $100,000 that are aimed at new entrants seeking funding for a project in the early stages of incentive program development.
(2) FINI Multi-year Community Based Projects are projects of up to four years with a grant maximum of $500,000 that are aimed at local groups developing incentive programs at the local or state level.
(3) FINI Multi-year Large-Scale Projects are projects of up to four years with a maximum of $500,000 that are aimed at groups developing multi-county, state, and regional incentive programs.
All projects must:
Only government agencies and nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply for funding through FINI. Such eligible applicants may include:
In addition, applicants must meet the following requirements:
(1) have experience either in efforts to reduce food insecurity in the community, including food distribution, improving access to services, and coordinating services and programs, or experience with the SNAP program;
(2) demonstrate competency to implement a project, provide fiscal accountability, collect data, and prepare reports and other necessary documentation;
(3) secure the commitment of the State SNAP agency to cooperate with the project; and
(4) possess a demonstrated willingness to share information with researchers, evaluators (including the independent evaluator for the program), practitioners, and other interested parties, including a plan for dissemination of results to stakeholders.
The inaugural round of FINI awards was announced in April 2015. $31.5 million in funding was awarded to 31 projects in 26 states using the combined farm bill funds for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. Three separate types of grants were awarded — pilot projects, multi-year community-based projects, and multi-year large-scale projects.
Over $27 million was awarded to 8 large-scale projects in Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and Washington. Among the large-scale project awardees granted funding include:
Multi-year community-based projects in Washington, Utah, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Maine, Louisiana, and California were collectively awarded $2.5 million. Among the community-based project awardees granted funding include:
Sixteen pilot projects were awarded throughout California, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Vermont, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Georgia, Illinois, Idaho, Hawaii, North Carolina, and Texas. Among the pilot project awardees granted funding include:
Learn more about FINI awarded projects:
Interested applicants should follow the instructions listed in the Request for Applications on the FINI page below. Registration is required in various systems prior to submitting one’s application and applications must be uploaded to www.grants.gov.
Additionally, three webinars are available through USDA to assist applicants to the FINI program:
NIFA plans to evaluate each application in a 2-part process: (1) an eligibility screening and (2) review and scoring by a panel of peer reviewers.
A cash or in-kind match of non-federal funds, in an amount equal to 50 percent of the total cost of the project, is required.
Finally, priority will be given to projects that:
The FINI program is a new initiative that was created in the Agricultural Act of 2014, also known as the 2014 Farm Bill, and provided with $100 million in mandatory funding over the life of the farm bill (2014-2018) in varying amounts.
Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives Program Funding
|Fiscal Year||Total Mandatory Funding Available (in millions)|
|5 yr total||$100|
*$35 million is allocated for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015 combined.
Section 4208 of Agricultural Act of 2014 amends Section 4405 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, to be codified at 7 U.S.C. Section 7517.
Last updated in October 2016.