City Green in Clifton Awarded $500,000 to Lead Statewide Nutrition Incentive Program

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Photo credit: City Green

The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced a $500,000 award to City Green in Clifton, supporting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) statewide nutrition incentive program, The Garden State Good Food Network.  Over three years, this award from the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) will support the effort of advancing food equity through fruit and vegetable affordability while improving economic opportunities for local farmers. This funding is critical at a time when food insecurity, exacerbated by COVID-19, is at an all-time high.

NJ Senator, Cory Booker, celebrated the federal investment into the State of New Jersey, “This federal funding is an important step towards more residents of the Garden State having access to fresh and local produce. Nutrition incentive programs like the Garden State Good Food Network make healthy, fresh produce more accessible to NJ families… City Green’s programs are a model of food system reform at the local level, and this grant will help them continue to support our most vulnerable residents and local farmers.”

The USDA GusNIP grant required a dollar for dollar match which private foundations supported including the Russell Berrie Foundation, Partners for Health Foundation, Victoria Foundation, Schumann Fund for New Jersey, Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, and a generous Anonymous Donor.

“We are excited that this funding will allow us to continue the expansion of our statewide Garden State Good Food Network into more farmer’s markets, and now into traditional retail outlets in rural, suburban, and urban communities,” said Jennifer Papa, Executive Director of City Green. “As a food access and urban farming organization, we are especially interested in growing the impact of the program which connects SNAP households to local farmers, their communities, and nutritious food.”

Today the Garden State Good Food Network program provides SNAP beneficiaries with a dollar-for-dollar match for fresh produce when they shop at any of the 20 participating NJ farmers markets and retailers in 10 counties. The GusNIP funding will allow City Green to double the number of Garden State Good Food Network farmers markets and grocery retailer partners (to 40 total) and expand into 3 new counties by the end of the 3 year grant period. By 2024, City Green expects that over 65% of SNAP using neighbors will live in a county with a participating farmers’ market or retailer, a critical step in ensuring that all our neighbors can enjoy the Garden State’s freshest produce.

The projects supported through the GusNIP award will help NJ achieve two long-term goals: to improve public health through the reduction of chronic diet-related diseases, and to create a sustainable local food system. Increasing the capacity of farmers markets and grocery stores to offer Good Food Bucks will help the 12% of New Jersey households that receive SNAP benefits more easily afford fresh fruits and vegetables. The funding will also strengthen the local economy by providing increased revenue to local farmers and retailers. Expanding this program to retailers in counties all over New Jersey creates further opportunities to provide an important revenue stream and consistent customer base for local farmers.

City Green is a 501(c)3 urban farming and gardening organization, based in Clifton, working to revitalize urban areas through agriculture and educational programming. It offers practical, technical and financial resources in support of environmental stewardship, equitable access to healthy food, and ecologically sustainable communities.  For more information contact Jasmine Moreano, Director of Community Engagement and Advocacy or visit www.citygreenonline.org.



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