(BIVN) – Hawaii Island’s Food Basket has been awarded a four-year United States Department of Agriculture Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant totaling $500,000.
Food Basket officials teased the news a few weeks ago at the Hawaii County Council, but today the official announcement was made in a media release.
The FINI grant will allow the implementation of “Da Bux,” the Food Bank’s new program supporting the purchase of “Hawai`i grown fresh fruit and vegetables among low-income consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through incentives at the point of purchase.”
“We’ve been given an opportunity to do exciting work here on Hawai`i Island that will lead the State,” said En Young, Executive Director of The Food Basket. “Da Bux will expand our ability to assist local farmers and get people connected to the kinds of foods they deserve, while also modeling a food system that is accessible and equitable to all.”
The program will be rolled-out over the next several months in partnership with KTA Super Stores, its own community-supported agriculture program, Ho`olaha Ka Hua “Da Box”, and at designated SNAP eligible farmer’s markets, Food Basket officials say.
“We have always wanted people to eat local, and now we’re going to make it even easier,” said Toby Taniguchi, President and Chief Operating Officer of KTA Super Stores. “For many decades, KTA has worked hard to support local farmers and entrepreneurs through the promotion of local goods. In this new partnership with The Food Basket, we are committed to a new level of community through the expansion of local produce availability to our SNAP customers through the Da Bux incentivized program.”
The Food Basket says it has enlisted the help of the Fair Food Network (FFN), a group with experience in implementing incentive programs nationwide, to ensure a smooth start to the program. FFN will share its expertise in increasing consumption of healthy local food and also the support of local growers in other jurisdictions.