Food Stamp Program Gives Discount to Produce Buyers

Aug 19, 2010
Megan Bedard is a sucker for sustainable agriculture and a good farmers market, she likes writing about food almost as much as eating it.
Wanna save dough? Start with fruit! (Photo: jessica mullen/Creative Commons)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—colloquially known as "food stamps"—could make some veggie-friendly changes in the future if a pilot project in Boston proves successful.

According to the Boston Herald, several thousand western Massachusetts SNAP recipients are partaking in an experiment aimed at combating obesity and improving nutrition by offering a food stamp discount on fruit and veggies.

The selected families—who will receive a 30-cent discount for each dollar they spend on produce—will be tracked by officials for 15 months to gauge if the program is successful at altering eating habits. 

When food stamps were first implemented, unemployment and food surpluses were high. The primary goal of the government was simply to provide food to the people who needed it.

As times have changed, and the rates of health problems like obesity and diabetes have grown, the focus of the program is expanding to embrace nutritional quality as well.

In addition to providing incentives for produce purchases, reform ideas have also included tighter regulation of the types of food that can be purchased with SNAP dollars, and expanding benefits for other healthful foods.

Photo: jessica mullen/Creative Commons via Flickr

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