The nonprofit FarmFresh Rhode Island will use a $4.6 million federal grant to help low-income New Englanders buy more fresh fruits and vegetables.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded FarmFresh the funding to expand nutrition incentives for New Englanders in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program, formerly known as food stamps. Nutrition incentives give shoppers tokens, coupons or other credits for using their SNAP benefits to buy from local farmers markets, farm stands and small groceries.
FarmFresh said it plans to use the federal funding to expand incentives in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Rhode Island’s U.S. Senator Jack Reed said the incentives will help boost the state’s agricultural economy and encourage healthier eating habits. Access to healthy foods, studies show, is key to reducing rates of obesity, diabetes and related health problems.