California Nutrition Incentive Program
The 2019 CNIP Expansion - WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Programs - RFP has closed and awards should be announced in March
The California Nutrition Incentive Program (CNIP) encourages the purchase and consumption of healthy, California-grown fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts by nutrition benefit clients. Housed within the Office of Farm to Fork, the program provides monetary incentives for the purchase of California grown fruits and vegetables at Certified Farmers Markets and small businesses. CNIP provides competitive grant funding to organizations to provide incentives to nutrition benefit shoppers, support program operations and outreach.
The California Nutrition Incentive Program is made possible through a robust public-private funding structure — including federal funding through the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP), formerly the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program, state general funds, and local partner support, including private donations, grants and in-kind contributions. CDFA received a $7.1 million grant from the GusNIP program in 2019 and a $3.9 million grant from the FINI program in 2017. CNIP funds are awarded to Certified Farmers’ Markets, non-profit organizations, and small businesses through a competitive grant process.
CNIP was established by Assembly Bill 1321 (Chapter 442, Statutes of 2015), authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting. State funding was provisionally provided in the Budget Act of 2016, contingent upon receipt of federal matching funds. CDFA was awarded federal matching funds through the FINI grant program in 2017, allowing the program to start operations.
Phase 1 of the program began in July 2017. It provides nutrition incentives to CalFresh shoppers who purchase California grown fruits and vegetables at Certified Farmers Markets and mobile markets. For every CalFresh benefit dollar they spend, CalFresh shoppers receive an additional dollar that can be spent on fruits and vegetables at the market, within set parameters. Any CalFresh shopper can benefit from the program simply by spending their benefits at participating Certified Farmers Markets. The incentive is intended to encourage CalFresh shoppers to purchase healthy food and empower them to increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables. To find farmers’ markets participating in CNIP/Market Match, please visit the Ecology Centers’ Farmers Market Finder
In summer of 2018, CNIP expanded and began offering incentives to low-income seniors participating in the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, WIC families, and CalFresh shoppers at a variety of additional retail outlets, including neighborhood retail stores, Community Supported Agriculture programs, and Certified Farmers Markets.
In 2020, CNIP will continue to fund incentives for CalFresh shoppers at Certified Farmers’ Markets and further to expand into retail settings, including corner stores and other small retail (see the list of 2020 CNIP Grantees).
2020 CNIP Grantees
Chico Natural Foods Cooperative is a community owned grocery store in Chico, California. It has been an active member in the local community for over 40 years and has established connections with a variety of local organizations aimed at ending food insecurity in the region. The co-op will offer nutrition incentives to CalFresh shoppers.
Centennial Farm Foundation works supports agricultural and youth-related education programs. Centennial partners closely with the Orange County Health Care Agency, regional food banks, the Children’s Action Partnership of Orange County and other community organizations on programs for underserved populations in Orange County. Centennial Farm Foundation will distribute nutrition incentives at the Costa Mesa Farmers’ Market.
The Ecology Center - has a strong track record of implementing Farmers’ Market SNAP/EBT and nutrition incentive programs in collaboration with the community. The Ecology Center’s incentive program, Market Match, partners with a network of experienced Implementation Contractors to deliver incentives at farmers’ markets statewide. The majority of these operate farmers’ market sites; however, some are community-based organizations that provide an array of services including regional farmers’ market coordination, SNAP and nutrition incentive distribution on site, and shopper education. The Ecology Center will distribute incentives beginning with 263 sites and add an additional 68 sites over the course of this grant.
The Food Trust works to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food and information to make healthy decisions. Its comprehensive approach includes improving food environments and teaching nutrition education; working with corner store owners to increase healthy offerings and helping customers make healthier choices; managing farmers markets; and encouraging grocery store development in underserved communities. The Food Trust has offered nutrition incentives through the Food Bucks program to SNAP shoppers since 2010 in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In California, the Food Trust has developed a robust healthy corner store network in San Jose and will distribute nutrition incentives in these neighborhood stores under CNIP.
Los Angeles Food Policy Council (LAFPC) works to ensure food is healthy, affordable, fair and sustainable for all. In addition to its facilitation, research, policy development and training, LAFPC has established the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network that has brought healthy food options to neighborhood markets for over five years. Through the Healthy Neighborhood Market Network, LAFPC has provided technical assistance to stores, including marketing, business best practices, produce management, and community engagement. Under CNIP, LAFPC will run a voucher-based incentive program at some of these stores.
Mandela Partners works in partnership with local residents, family farmers, and community-based businesses to improve health and build assets in low-income communities. Mandela’s well-established network of corner stores, farm stands, and distribution partner, has extensive experience bringing fresh, quality produce to low-income residents. With its 2020 CNIP grant, Mandela will offer nutrition incentives to CalFresh shoppers purchasing California grown produce at its farm stands.
North Figueroa Association has been running the Old LA & Lincoln Heights Certified Farmers’ Markets in Los Angeles for many years. Both markets have extensive experience accepting CalFresh/SNAP and distributing nutrition incentives. NFA was a 2017 CNIP grantee and will continue distributing nutrition incentives to CalFresh shoppers under this 2020 CNIP award.
2018 CNIP Expansion Grantees
In 2018, CDFA solicited proposals to expand CNIP to reach low-income shoppers participating in WIC and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, in addition to CalFresh, and to expand into CSAs, farm stands, and neighborhood retail stores. The following organizations and their projects are partners in the 2018CNIP Expansion:
Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative works to advance the production of and access to healthy food by empowering faith communities with models and resources to impact local food systems. Through CNIP, Interfaith will provide nutrition incentives to low-income seniors participating in the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program and to CalFresh shoppers purchasing produce through CSAs and farm stands. The project will operate at faith-based sites in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Mandela MarketPlace works in partnership with local residents, family farmers, and community-based businesses to improve health, create wealth, and build assets through cooperative food enterprises in low-income communities. Through CNIP, Mandela MarketPlace will expand its incentive program for CalFresh shoppers purchasing California grown fruits, vegetables, and nuts at retail stores and farm stands in Alameda County.
The Ecology Center has been operating the Market Match program since 2012, and has been a previous CNIP grantee. This expansion grant will provide incentives to CalFresh shoppers at 103 Market Match farmers markets throughout the state.
The Visalia Farmers Market operates farmers markets at three locations in Tulare County – two in Visalia and one in Porterville. The Visalia Farmers Market Association will offer nutrition incentives at all three of its markets to WIC shoppers and to seniors participating in the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program.
2017 CNIP Phase 1 Grantees
For the first phase of CNIP, CDFA solicited proposals for partner organizations to provide nutrition incentives for CalFresh shoppers purchasing California grown competitive grant process, the following four organizations and their projects were selected to be partners in CNIP Phase 1:
The Ecology Center – California Market Match Expansion and Innovation Project
The Ecology Center has been operating the Market Match program since 2012. The Ecology Center partners with a network of experienced Implementation Contractors, the majority of which operate farmers' market sites; however, some are community based organizations that provide an array of services including regional farmers' market coordination, CalFresh and nutrition incentive distribution on site, and shopper education. Through the Ecology Center and its partners, CNIP will distribute nutrition incentives at 300 Certified Farmers' Markets and 39 mobile markets.
Wellington Square Certified Farmers' Market – Nutrition Incentive Festivals
Wellington Square Certified Farmers' Market currently provides nutrition incentives to its CalFresh shoppers through the Market Match Program. With funding through CNIP, the Market will throw monthly Nutrition Incentive Festivals to attract more CalFresh customers to the Market and provide an array of family-friendly, nutrition focused activities – including kids' healthy, hands on, cooking classes, adult cooking demonstrations and live music.
North Figueroa Association – Market Match of Northeast LA
The North Figueroa Association operates two markets in Northeast LA – Highland Parks and Old LA Certified Farmers' Markets. Funding from CNIP will provide nutrition incentives for CalFresh shoppers at these markets and promote the markets and the consumption of California grown fresh fruits and vegetables to CalFresh shoppers in the area.
Downtown Napa Farmers' Market – Token Match Program
Downtown Napa Certified Farmers' Market will provide nutrition incentives to CalFresh shoppers at the market. In addition, the Market will also provide nutrition education programming, including cooking classes for families, at the market to encourage healthy eating.