Half-million dollar government grant encourages healthy eating i - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Half-million dollar government grant encourages healthy eating in Youngstown

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WASHINGTON -

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded a $498,880 grant to encourage people receiving assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to purchase healthier foods.

The office of Congressman Tim Ryan announced on Monday that the USDA approved a proposal from the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation to provide incentives for people participating in SNAP to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

The “Eating for Health in the Mahoning Valley” project is designed to increase food access in the Mahoning Valley by broadening funding to help SNAP/EBT customers purchase fresh produce at six farmers markets and local food outlets, according to a news release.

The grant also expands the Mercy Health Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program.

“The 4-year project supported by Mercy Health Foundation and includes over 15 project partners working together to support families while increasing revenues to local farmers," said Liberty Avila, Land Reuse Director at Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation.

The money was awarded as a part of a larger $16.8 million investment by the USDA to be distributed through 32 grants to help SNAP participants increase their purchases of fruits and vegetables.

The program is operated by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The funding comes from the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.  

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