Northampton, PA – Today, Congressman Matt Cartwright announced that Nurture Nature Center in Easton received a $267,394 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The distributing grant program, Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI), supports projects to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables among low-income consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
FINI is a joint effort between USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and its Food and Nutrition Service, which oversees SNAP and has responsibility for evaluating the effectiveness of the incentive projects. FINI brings together providers and players from distinct parts of the U.S. food system and fosters understanding of how we might improve the nutrition and health status of SNAP households. The awards under FINI represent a variety of projects, including relatively small pilot projects, multi-year community-based projects, and larger-scale multi-year projects.
“I am proud to support programs that help put food on tables of at least 44 million Americans, including 19 million children,” said Rep. Cartwright. “This grant will help low-income families consume more nutritious food, while also supporting family farmers.”
Nurture Nature Center, located in downtown Easton, is a science-based community center that uses science, art and dialogue programs to help the community learn about and engage in local environmental issues. The center’s Buy Fresh Buy Local Greater Lehigh Valley (BFBLGLV) program educates consumers about the many benefits of choosing locally grown foods, promotes local food providers, improves fresh food access, facilitates local food purchases by wholesale buyers, conducts research about our local food economy, and supports the Thriving Local Food System branch of the Food Policy Council.
“This award from USDA is critical to Nature Nurture Center’s effort to connect the community with its local environment, while improving the health of local residents at the same time,” said Rachel Hogan Carr, executive director of Nurture Nature Center. “The Nurture Nature Center is honored to receive this highly competitive award, and is eager to see the Double SNAP program expand throughout the Lehigh Valley. Helping residents access fresh, local food is a critical part of building a strong community and environment, and this project does both at the same time.”
“One of the most exciting aspects of our program in the coming years will be efforts to offer SNAP incentives in the area’s Healthy Corner Stores,” said Allison Czapp, BFBLGLV outreach coordinator and project director. “Strategies to make fresh, local fruits and vegetables more affordable for low-income community members will work toward building an equitable food system, keep more food dollars circulating in our local economy and support the health of all Lehigh Valley residents.”
Rep. Matt Cartwright represents Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District, which includes Schuylkill County and portions of Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, and Northampton Counties. Cartwright serves on the House Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
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