A recent survey of SNAP participants in Florida, conducted by a group of statewide stakeholders, explored key strategies that could help to strengthen the nutrition and health outcomes of SNAP participants. The survey is part of the Florida Project, initiated by Florida Policy Institute, Florida Impact to End Hunger, Central Florida Alliance to End Hunger, Concerned African Women Inc., Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger, and Whole Child Leon, through the support of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
One of the top three strategies identified through the survey responses was a move to increase the amount of money participants receive in SNAP benefits for healthy food and beverages. To make this solution permanent may require United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to change it’s SNAP allotment structure for Florida, however, as work toward that permanent solution continues, nutrition incentive programs, such as Feeding Florida’s Fresh Access Bucks (FAB) offer an immediate option for SNAP participants to double their SNAP dollar for fresh fruits and vegetables.
Fresh Access Bucks is Florida’s statewide nutrition incentive program. SNAP and P-EBT participants can shop with their SNAP or P-EBT at any of the 70 participating locations across the state and get a $1 for $1 match toward free Florida-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Participants do not need to sign up or apply to use Fresh Access Bucks. The program is available at farmers markets, farm stands, CSAs (community supported agriculture), mobile markets and community grocery stores. It works a little differently depending on the outlet, but essentially for every $1 spent with their SNAP or P-EBT, they will receive an additional $1 in Fresh Access Bucks, allowing participants to stretch their benefits and get more fresh fruits and vegetables. Details on how the Fresh Access Bucks program works can be found here.
According to the survey, many of the survey participants were not aware that they could use Fresh Access Bucks to double their SNAP dollars for fresh fruits and vegetables. Participant responses indicated that less than 10% of those surveyed had heard about or were using the nutrition incentive program. FAB’s Community Partner page provides resources for partners who would like to share information about the program with their community through printable flyers, signage and social media posts.
Next steps for the Florida Project are to promote targeted policies and pilot projects to lawmakers and the Florida Department of Children and Families, and to help expand and promote SNAP and Fresh Access Bucks. To learn more about the project, survey results and other key strategies identified, read the full report here: https://uploads-ssl.webflow.com/5cd5801dfdf7e5927800fb7f/625700a0cc93af65cd31e710_RT_The_Florida_Project-compressed.pdf or view the recording from the recent virtual meeting releasing the survey results: The Florida Project: Recommendations for Healthy Eating SNAP Pilot Projects.
Find a Fresh Access Bucks location near you here: https://www.feedingflorida.org/promotional-materials/fresh-access-bucks-market-locations.