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FNS Awards Kentucky Grant to Provide Mobile Payment Options for WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program

Press Release
Release No.
SERO 062222
Contact: FNS Press Team
Pregnant Woman EBT
Contact:
Southeast Regional Office (SERO) - Public Affairs
SM.FN.SEROPublicAffairs@usda.gov
470-370-2395
FNS Press, fnspress@usda.gov

WASHINGTON, June 22, 2022 – USDA Food and Nutrition Service today awarded Kentucky a grant as part of the first round of Farmers' Market Nutrition Program Benefit Delivery Modernization Grants. This investment will help improve equitable access to locally grown fruits and vegetables for participants of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, commonly known as WIC.

Grants are being awarded to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, WIC Nutrition Program. Each will use grant funds to purchase mobile-friendly software or web-based services that streamline benefit delivery for participants, farmers and WIC FMNP state agencies and can help increase the use of benefits at farmers' markets.

“Supply chain issues have affected families around the country, but fortunately, shopping at your local farmers' market is one way to ensure immediate access to fresh produce,” said USDA FNS Administrator Cindy Long. “These mobile-friendly solutions make it easier for eligible WIC participants to buy fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables to help provide the healthiest start for their families.”

Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services will receive more than $50,000 in grant funding. The Kentucky WIC Program has partnered with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program to identify a solution that the Commonwealth may implement to meet the needs of both programs, as well as simplify training for farmers who participate in both the WIC and Senior programs. The solution is usable from mobile devices and does not require a card. This modernization effort will streamline benefit issuance and transaction.

One of the most important and rewarding goals we have at FNS is to ensure children have access to safe, healthy and nutritious food,” said USDA FNS Southeast Regional Administrator Willie C. Taylor. “We look forward to supporting Kentucky's implementation of new technology to reach this goal.”

The WIC Farmers' Market Nutrition Program provides eligible participants coupons to buy fresh, unprepared fruits and vegetables from local farmers, farmers' markets or roadside stands that have been approved by their state agency to accept FMNP benefits.

These grants are funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and are part of a larger group of ARPA initiatives to modernize the WIC and Farmers' Market Nutrition programs. The grants demonstrate the Biden-Harris Administration's commitment to improve nutrition security for all Americans, especially historically underserved populations. A second round of Farmers' Market Nutrition Program Benefit Delivery Modernization Grants is expected later this year.

USDA is aware of the continuing infant formula shortage and is working tirelessly to address any impacts on WIC participants. Information about the USDA response can be found here Infant Formula Safety.

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) leverages its 15 nutrition assistance programs to ensure that children, low-income individuals, and families have opportunities for a better future through equitable access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food, while building a more resilient food system. Under the leadership of Secretary Tom Vilsack, FNS is fighting to end food and nutrition insecurity for all through programs such as SNAP, school meals, and WIC. FNS also provides science-based nutrition recommendations through the co-development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To learn more, visit www.fns.usda.gov and follow @USDANutrition.

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06/22/2022