On Wednesday, March 20, Molly Pfaffenroth, NGA Director of Government Relations, advocated for independent grocers and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)-Education program to Congressional offices and the Administration. Joined by colleagues from The Food Trust, Feeding America, and Share Our Strength, Molly met with staff from Representative Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee’s Nutrition Subcommittee, and Senator Tom Carper’s (D-DE) offices and voiced the independent supermarket industry’s integral role in helping to implement successful SNAP-Education programs. Independent Supermarkets are an essential component of the public-private partnership that is SNAP and they are committed to serving their customers in urban areas, rural areas, and everywhere in between. Molly also met with administrators at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (USDA FNS) and discussed the path forward for the implementation process of the 2018 Farm Bill and specifically the SNAP-Ed program.
USDA’s SNAP-Ed program teaches SNAP customers about nutrition, how to choose healthier foods, how to cook with healthy foods, and methods to stretch SNAP dollars further. Independent grocery stores are a critical partner in the SNAP-Ed program because they can reach SNAP customers in-store with education such as signage, healthy recipes, on-site nutritionists and dieticians, and other innovative strategies such as fruit and vegetable marketing programs. An example of a successful program implemented in a grocery store is providing SNAP customers with the opportunity to tour a store while being educated as they shop. In-store teaching helps customers learn how to compare products for price and nutrition, as well as how to make a budget for weekly meals.
Congress values the importance of the SNAP-Ed program and the role of independent grocers and thereby maintained funding levels for the program in the 2018 Farm Bill. Also included in the Farm Bill are provisions that create an online clearinghouse of SNAP-Ed best practices, technical assistance for creating state plans, and electronic reporting requirements for State Agencies regarding program evaluation and administrative costs. The SNAP-Ed Program is implemented by the USDA FNS and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), while the Economic Research Service supports the program through research and education.
More information about the SNAP-Ed program, a toolkit, and success stories are available on USDA’s website.