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PUBLICATIONS

  1. Number of stores authorized to accept SNAP benefits grew by over 50 percent in the last decade

In 2016, low-income participants in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) received an average of about $126 in benefits each month to purchase eligible food items in authorized retail food stores. To become an authorized SNAP store, retailers are required to meet various criteria based in part on the types of food offered for sale. As of September 2016, over a quarter million (260,115) food retailers were authorized to redeem SNAP benefits. From 2007 to 2013, the number of SNAP-authorized stores grew by 53 percent. This increase coincided with a sharp rise in the number of SNAP participants that was largely due to the economic downturn, including the Great Recession of 2007-09, which increased demand for food assistance. Much of the growth in the number of SNAP stores was the result of more convenience stores applying for and receiving authorization to accept SNAP benefits. The number of SNAP-authorized convenience stores doubled from 2007 to 2016. By 2016, convenience stores accounted for 45 percent of all SNAP-authorized stores, but these stores accounted for just 6 percent of SNAP redemptions.

 

  1. Multiple-adult households without children account for over a quarter of U.S. food-insecure households

The prevalence of food insecurity—having difficulty providing enough food for all household members at some time during the year—varies across U.S. demographic groups. While some types of households may be less likely to be food insecure, the household groups could be so large that the households in the groups who are experiencing food insecurity make up a large share of all food-insecure households. For example, multiple-adult households without children had a lower food insecurity prevalence (8.0 percent) than single-mother households (31.6 percent) and single-father households (21.7 percent) in 2016. However, in the Nation as a whole, multiple-adult households without children—households that include married and unmarried couples with no children, or grown children, as well as households made up of relatives or roommates over the age of 18—are more numerous than single-parent households, so these multiple-adult households make up a larger share of all food-insecure households. In 2016, multiple-adult households without children accounted for 27 percent of all food-insecure households; single-mother households accounted for 20 percent; and single-father households accounted for 4 percent.

  1. Households that buy fruits and vegetables directly from farmers tend to possess health-oriented attitudes and behaviors

A recent ERS study analyzed spending on fruits and vegetables by the 4,826 households that participated in USDA’s National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS). Among these households, 170 bought some of their fruits and vegetables directly from farmers at roadside stands, farmers’ markets, or other direct-to-consumer (DTC) outlets during their week of participation in the survey. Another 3,388 households bought fruits and vegetables exclusively at nondirect food stores. The researchers found that purchasing fruits and vegetables at a DTC outlet was positively associated with several healthy practices. For example, people buying fruits and vegetables directly from farmers were more likely to have a vegetable garden (45 versus 25 percent of non-DTC shoppers), to be aware of USDA’s MyPlate campaign to promote Federal dietary guidance, and to search the internet for information on healthy eating. Households that bought fruits and vegetables directly from farmers were also more likely to rate the healthfulness of their diets as excellent or very good.

 

  1. Nearly 40 percent of U.S. farms run by multiple operators

Commercial-sized farms often require more management and labor than an individual can provide. Additional operators can offer these and other resources, such as capital or farmland. Having a secondary operator may also provide a successor when an older principal operator phases out of farming. In 2016, nearly 40 percent of all U.S. farms had a multiple operators. Because nearly all farms are family owned, family members often serve as secondary operators. For example, 64 percent of secondary operators were spouses of principal operators. Some multiple-operator farms were also run by multiple generations, with a difference of at least 20 years between the ages of the youngest and oldest operators. These multiple-generation farms accounted for about 7 percent of all U.S. farms. Large-scale family farms and nonfamily farms were more likely to be operated by multiple generations, at about 20-25 percent of those farms. However, the operators in nonfamily multiple-generation farms were likely unrelated managers from different generations.

 

  1. SNAP policy index captures trends in State policies for administering SNAP

USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the Nation's largest food assistance program. For much of the program's history, administration of SNAP was largely uniform across States. However, welfare reform legislation in 1996 and subsequent legislative and regulatory changes have allowed States increased flexibility to administer some components of the program. ERS researchers recently developed an index that reflects how accommodative, or encouraging, State policies are to enrolling individuals in SNAP. This SNAP policy index is composed of 10 State policies related to eligibility, ease of enrolling and participating, participation stigma, and outreach to attract new participants. The index ranges between 1 and 10, with a higher number indicating more accommodative policies are in place. For the Nation as a whole, the index grew steadily from 1997 to 2014, meaning that States tended to adopt policies encouraging enrollment. Between 1997 and 2000, policies that relaxed eligibility and reduced stigma played the largest roles in the rising index. After 2000, policies that made enrolling and remaining in the program easier played a larger role.

  1. Elder veterans relied more on agriculture for employment, while working age veterans relied more on manufacturing

Nearly 19 million veterans lived in the United States in 2015. Almost 18 percent of them lived in rural (nonmetro) counties, compared to 15 percent of the U.S. adult civilian population. About 45 percent of rural veterans were working age (18 to 64 years old); the rest were elder veterans (65 years or older). Overall, about 21 percent of elder rural veterans reported currently working (full- or part-time) or having last worked (if retired or unemployed) in the agriculture industry. By comparison, less than 3 percent of working-age veterans reported the same. Instead, working-age veterans relied more on the manufacturing industry for employment. About 19 percent of working age veterans reported currently working or having last worked in manufacturing, compared to 7 percent of elder veterans. Both working age and elder veterans relied about equally for employment in some industries —including education and health, wholesale and retail trade, and construction.

EVENTS/LEARNING

  1. Hospitals are healing communities

Hospitals can tackle food insecurity, obesity, and chronic disease while promoting healthy, local, and sustainable food systems. Created with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Health Care Without Harm’s “Delivering community benefit: Healthy food playbook” inspires and supports hospital community benefit professionals and community partners in developing initiatives to promote healthy food access and healthy, local and sustainable food systems. The playbook offers resources to address diet-related community health needs throughout the community health engagement process. The playbook features case studies from leading hospitals from across the country and 25 guidance resources that support community health needs assessments; developing implementation strategies; and evaluating, reporting, and communicating results.

  1. USDA Webinars Regarding the Community Connect Grant Program

The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will host webinars focused on the Community Connect Grant Program. These webinars will inform participants about the major eligibility and regulatory requirements of the program and will provide detailed guidance on how to submit a successful application. There will also be time for participants to ask the speakers specific questions about putting together an application. On March 15th, the Community Connect Grant Program's Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA) was published in the Federal Register.  A copy can be found here. You can register for the April 5th session here and the April 10th session here. We recommend you do this registration early and run a system check to ensure quick access on the day of the webinar.

  1. USDA Webinars Regarding the Community Connect Grant Program Environmental Requirements - FY2018

The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will host webinars focused on environmental requirements for the Community Connect Grant Program. These webinars will inform participants about the major environmental requirements of the Community Connect Program. There will also be time for participants to ask the speakers specific questions on environmental reviews. You can register for the April 5th session here and the April 12th session here. We recommend you do this registration early and run a system check to ensure quick access on the day of the webinar.

  1. U.S. Dept. of Transportation - Putting SIBs, TIFIA and TIGER to Work in Your Community

CDFA is hosting a webinar on April 12th focused on the financing tools available through the US Department of Transportation. We have several great speakers lined up to participate, and if you haven't already registered, I hope you'll consider joining us. As you may already know, the recently passed federal spending bill allocates $1 billion to the TIGER program, making our upcoming webinar especially relevant to anyone considering applying for TIGER funds.

  1. National Good Food Network | Crafting Winning LFPP/FMPP Proposals

This webinar will explore best practices for planning and writing LFPP/FMPP proposals, emphasizing that designing effective and impactful goal-based programs is the foundation of successful grant applications. We will put special emphasis on addressing the opportunity's evaluation criteria, ensuring you put your best foot forward. This webinar will be geared to those who are less experienced in writing grant proposals, particularly proposals for US government grants. April 12th | 2PM EST

  1. National Good Food Network | National Food Hub Survey

Learn from an in-depth survey of food hubs across the US. Designed, run and analyzed by Michigan State University's Center for Regional Food Systems in cooperation with the Wallace Center and the NGFN Food Hub Collaboration, this is truly the definitive word on food hubs in the US in 2017. April 19th | 3:30PM EST

  

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