September 01, 2022

Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program receives USDA support

Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program receives USDA support 

By: Sydney Sheffield 

The Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) brings together stakeholders from various parts of the food and healthcare systems. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced almost $8 million to GusNIP’s Produce Prescription Project, as part of the American Rescue Plan to be administered by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). 

The GusNIP competitive grant programs are authorized for fiscal years 2019 through 2023, with mandatory growth in annual funding from $45 million to $56 million to be appropriated over 5 years. The 2018 Farm Bill allows the Secretary to provide funding opportunities to conduct and evaluate projects providing incentives to income-eligible consumers to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables and prescriptions for fresh fruits and vegetables. 

“USDA continues to make strides in transforming our Nation’s food system,” said Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics, and USDA Chief Scientist. “Through this investment, USDA is making more nutritious food available to more people at more affordable prices. The GusNIP Produce Prescription program demonstrates the invaluable impact that access to fresh fruits and vegetables has on communities in need.”

GusNIP Produce Prescription projects provide financial and non-financial incentives to income-eligible individuals and families to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables to improve dietary health through increased consumption of fruits and vegetables. The announced award will fund the fiscal year 2021 applicants that were highly ranked, but not funded at the time due to budget limitations. 

Seventeen programs will be funded throughout the country, including: 

  • Food MD Program (New York, New York)
  • Fresh for Less Mobile Markets and Curbside Delivery Produce Prescription (Cedar Creek, Texas)
  • Expanding Fresh Farmacy and Introducing Farmers Market Incentive (Charlottesville, Virginia)
  • Produce RX: Health Centers Leveraging Local Produce for Wellness (Davis, California) 

A provider in the Georgia Food for Health program, one of the programs benefitting from this award, said, “I was always big on prescribing cheap prescriptions to my patients. I had never thought about prescribing food. I saw the endless cycle of health problems created by food and what my patients were eating. Food affects everything, it affects my patients’ lives in so many ways. The program completely changed the way I prescribed medicine. Now I prescribe food.”

Check out the full list of funded projects here