The Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) offers retailers a chance to provide extra food dollars to help low-income shoppers include more healthy fruits and vegetables in their diet.
The National Grocers Association Foundation Technical Assistance Center (NGAF TA Center) partnered with the Hunger Solutions Institute at Auburn University to host a recent webinar, “How Retailers Can Help Build a GusNIP Nutrition Incentive Program.”
The aim was to discuss the partnership between retailers and non-profits/government agencies to get a GusNIP project off the ground, with particular attention on the role retailers have in the building of a nutrition incentive/produce prescription program with potential grantee partners.
In the webinar, Jimmy Wright, owner and operator of Wright’s Market in Opelika, Ala., explained how he was able to build a program with partners Alicia Powers and Skylar Biedenharn of the Hunger Solutions Institute at Auburn University.
Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:
Retailers can search for the right partner with whom to build a project. Retailers have the opportunity to participate in the creation of a GusNIP project, but first they must identify an appropriate grantee partner. Some things to look for are a non-profit/government agency that:
- Has the capacity to administer a program
- Aligns with the mission and values of the store operator and community
- Can apply for the grant, must be a government or non-profit entity
- Has the ability to help market the program
- Has the resources to evaluate and successfully work with the POS system you run at the store
- Can make reimbursements in a timely manner and are trustworthy with financial data
Retailers must also prepare themselves to be good partners. Although this webinar was more focused on the retail community, it is important that retailers be ready to hold up their end of the bargain. Perhaps future grantees in your state or region are currently looking into applying for a GusNIP grant. Some characteristics grantees look for in retailers are that they:
- Are involved in the community
- Are excited about nutrition incentives
- Are an established SNAP customer base/SNAP approval
- Have a high-quality produce section
- Offer locally sourced produce
- Feature deals and specials SNAP customers can take advantage of
- Utilize a sophisticated POS system to run incentive transactions
Applications are open now! The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released the requests for application (RFA) for both the nutrition incentive and produce prescription grants funded through the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP). Applications are due June 30, 2022.
*The NGAF TA Center addresses the challenges grocers and supermarket operators face in establishing nutrition incentive programs and is a proud partner of the Nutrition Incentive Hub. The Nutrition Incentive Hub, funded through a cooperative agreement from the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, is a new resource that provides training, technical assistance, reporting\ and evaluation for those working to launch or expand SNAP incentives or produce prescription programs. The Nutrition Incentive Hub is led by Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition in partnership with Fair Food Network along with a coalition of evaluators, researchers, practitioners, and grocery and farmers market experts from across the country dedicated to strengthening and uniting the best thinking in the field to increase access to affordable, healthy food to those who need it most.