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USDA Selects Massachusetts to Test Ground-Breaking Nutrition Pilot Program

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that Hampden County, Mass., will conduct the first-ever Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) – an incentives-based program to empower low-income Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables. The 2008 Farm Bill authorized $20 million to research whether incentives for participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly the Food Stamp Program) will increase their purchase of healthful foods.

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USDA Unveils New Consumer Information Resources About SNAP for People in Need of Food Assistance

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced new resources designed to increase participation and expand access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, including new promotional materials proclaiming "We Welcome SNAP Benefits." The new display will be used nationwide by retailers participating in the program, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. The department is also premiering the SNAP Retail Locator, an online search tool to help recipients locate a SNAP-authorized store near their home or workplace. USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon made the announcement today on Vilsack's behalf in an address to officials from the National Grocers Association, Food Marketing Institute, and Electronic Funds Transfer Association.

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USDA Expands Access to Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Schools Across the Nation

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that, as authorized by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill), USDA will expand assistance to state agencies for schools operating USDA's Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program in the 2011/2012 school year. The investment is part of the Obama administration's efforts to improve the health of our children by providing access to nutritious meals in schools and also serves as a valuable resource to schools that continue working to improve the health and nutrition of the foods they serve. The assistance will provide free fresh fruit and vegetables to children throughout the school day.

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ARRA: Strengthening American Families and Communities

Today, USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon marked the one year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, better known as the stimulus or recovery package. USDA received an additional $100 million to provide food to local food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens through The Emergency Food Assistance Program and an additional $50 million to ensure timely administration and distribution. The ARRA funding also provided an additional $100 million in grants to local school systems in an effort to enhance the nutritional quality of school meals.

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ARRA: Strengthening Families and Communities Through SNAP

Today, USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon marked the one year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (AARA) of 2009, also known as the stimulus or recovery package, by announcing that ARRA invested more than $8 billion in local economies to feed the hungry through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly the Food Stamp Program with approximately $830 million more invested each month.  In addition, through the Emergency Food Assistance program, States received an additional $150 million to support local food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens.

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Smithsonian Acquires Historic Food Coupons from USDA

At a special presentation, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History acquired Food Stamp Program coupons and other related materials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), the cornerstone of U.S. food assistance programs designed to ensure that low income citizens can obtain a nutritious diet. In October 2008, Congress renamed the Food Stamp Program (FSP) to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to emphasize the program's focus on nutrition.

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Secretary Vilsack Announces $25 Million for New School Food Service Equipment To Help Schools Improve the Quality of Meals

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the availability of $25 million in grants to help schools operating a National School Lunch Program replace outdated equipment with new, energy efficient, appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, and other food service related equipment. The new funding, authorized in accordance with Section 7(a)(2) of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1776(a)(2)), is a one-time fiscal year 2010 appropriation to State educational agencies.

The Communications Division coordinates public and media communications for the USDA Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services mission area. For media inquiries, please contact FNSpress@usda.gov or 703-305-2281.