Heirloom FM Receives $86k through USDA’s Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Grant

wholesomwave-834x399Today, Heirloom Farmers Markets celebrates USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack’s announcement of $31.5 million granted through the Food Insecurity Nutrition Program (FINI). National nonprofit Wholesome Wave received a $3.77 million FINI grant, of which Heirloom Farmers Markets, as a subgrantee, will receive $86,608 through this award, which will be used to support increased access to fruits and vegetables for the food insecure of Southern Arizona, while also benefitting small and mid-sized farmers in the region. 

“We are thrilled to receive this award and use the funds to develop Tucson’s first incentive program in cooperation with Wholesome Wave and FINI. Too many in our community lack access to healthy, nutritious food. We’re working to change that by making it easier to purchase fresh produce at our markets,” says Manish Shah, co-executive director of Heirloom Farmers Markets. “It’s good for the health of our community and it’s good for our local food producers.”

For more than a decade, Heirloom Farmers Markets has been committed to creating a vibrant food system in Baja Arizona that supports local food producers and proprietors. Heirloom operates the largest farmers market system in Southern Arizona, and recently opened the region’s first farmers market pavilion at Rillito Park, in partnership with Pima County. 

The grant issued to Heirloom Farmers Markets will increase affordable access to fresh fruits and vegetables for SNAP consumers at Heirloom markets, while also supporting local agriculture. 

“With this award, we will launch our Double Your Dollar program, through which SNAP recipients can double the value of their benefits when purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables at our farmers markets,” says Roxanne Garcia, co-executive director of Heirloom Farmers Markets.

Heirloom Farmers Markets received this award as a subgrantee on a larger $3.77 million grant, which nonprofit, Wholesome Wave, obtained from the USDA to support their national network of nutrition incentive partners. Heirloom Farmers Markets is one of 32 community-based organizations that will join Wholesome Wave in this Large-Scale FINI Project. Wholesome Wave’s network is a robust community of innovation and learning, linking incentive programs through uniform data collection and evaluation to support the expansion and adoption of incentives through policy. Wholesome Wave’s project is one of many that received support as part of the total $31.5 million granted by USDA in this cycle. 

With the award from Wholesome Wave, Heirloom Farmers Markets will be implementing incentive programs at all four of their farmers market locations, beginning with their Saturday and Sunday farmers markets at Rillito Park later this spring. 

“We are thrilled to be working with such a diverse and competent group of incentive operators across the nation. This network brings together organizations ranging from a flourishing farmers market group to a large scale nonprofit, capitalizing on the grassroots expertise of community leaders, while also building regional and national impact that allows us to enact the kind of large-scale policy change we see in legislation like FINI,” says Wholesome Wave founder and CEO, Michel Nischan.

Heirloom Farmers Markets is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has been serving the greater Tucson area for more than a decade by creating a vibrant food system that supports local food producers and proprietors. Heirloom operates four urban, green markets that are open 52 weeks a year. These markets provide a direct connection to more than 90 vendors with deep roots in Baja Arizona, including farms, ranches, nurseries, bakeries, and specialty foods producers. The markets are open from 9am to 1pm October through March, and 8am to 12pm April through September. For more information visit www.heirloomfm.com.

➢      Friday Market  Trail Dust Town, 6541 E. Tanque Verde Rd, Tucson, AZ 85715

➢      Saturday Market  Steam Pump Ranch, 10901 N. Oracle Road, Oro Valley, AZ 85737

➢      Sunday Market  Rillito Park, 4502 N. 1st Ave., Tucson, AZ 85718

Wholesome Wave is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that strives to create a vibrant, just and sustainable food system. By making fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables affordable and available, we enable underserved consumers to make healthier food choices. Our innovative initiatives are improving health outcomes among low-income families, generating additional revenue for small and mid-sized farm businesses and bolstering local and regional economies. Our initiatives are implemented nationwide in collaboration with community-based partners at farmers markets, community health centers, hospital systems, food hubs, and retail outlets. Each year, our initiatives reach more than 50,000 underserved consumers and their families, as well as thousands of farmers. To learn more about Wholesome Wave visit www.wholesomewave.org or call 203-226-1112.