WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation $498,880 to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables for Mahoning Valley residents. The funding comes through the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program, which was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill that Brown helped negotiate.
“Access to healthy foods plays an important role in improving the overall health of Ohio communities,” said Brown. “As negotiations continue on the next farm bill, building on the success of programs like FINI is a top priority.”
The FINI program works to bring together community stakeholders to improve access to nutritious foods for participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation was one of 32 grant awardees that received a total of $16.8 million.
“This project, entitled Eating for Health in the Mahoning Valley, will increase food access in the Mahoning Valley by broadening funding to help SNAP/EBT customers purchase fresh produce at 6 farmers markets and local food outlets and will also expand the Mercy Health Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program. The 4 year project is being significantly supported by Mercy Health Foundation and includes over 15 project partners working together to support families while increasing revenues to local farmers,” said Liberty Avila, Land Reuse Director, Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation.
In 2014, Brown was part of the Senate Farm Bill Conference Committee that successfully negotiated a five-year farm bill, which authorized programs like FINI. Brown supported a strong Rural Development title in the 2014 Farm Bill to encourage economic development in rural communities.
Brown is currently participating in hearings being held in the Senate Agriculture Committee on the 2018 Farm Bill. Brown is the first Ohioan to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly 50 years