Healthy Food, Healthy Lives

Grantee Name

BluePrint Geneva

Funding Area

Healthy Food, Healthy Lives

Publication Date

March 2024

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

November 2021—October 2023

Residents of Geneva, N.Y., can sign up for a farm box subscription to receive fresh foods from local farmers and producers through BluePrint Geneva’s Just Harvest program. The farm boxes include meat, dairy, and produce options. 

SNAP recipients can use their benefits on farm boxes, but the rules set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) typically require recipients to purchase these products in person at a farm or farmers market. In Geneva, this requirement had created transportation and cost barriers to accessing healthy food for SNAP recipients and low-income residents.  As a solution, BluePrint Geneva received approval to process SNAP benefits, allowing the organization to deliver fresh foods to SNAP recipients. In 2021, NYHealth awarded BluePrint Geneva a grant to expand its farm box program for low-income residents lacking access to healthy, affordable food in the City of Geneva.  

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Developed partnerships with local producers to bring fresh produce, dairy, and locally-raised meats to residents of a USDA-designated food scarcity area in downtown Geneva. 
  • Provided pickup and delivery options for farm boxes on the first four Fridays of every month, reaching 150 families in the region and doubling the organization’s initial goal.  
  • Developed a tiered payment system where the standard farm box price helped to subsidize the cost of farm boxes for SNAP recipients. 
  • Administered surveys to get feedback from SNAP participants on improving the program to best meet participants’ needs. 
  • Helped local partners build choice and dignity into local food programs by sharing what worked from the survey feedback model. The model helped two local partners reshape their emergency food box programs to allow participants to request certain items, improve client experience, and reduce food waste. 

BluePrint Geneva initially faced issues getting the SNAP technology to function properly work in the field, but it worked with technical support to resolve the issue quickly. The administrative requirements for processing food benefits are a continuous challenge for small, independent producers and retailers.  

The popularity of the program was also an initial obstacle, as demand outpaced transportation capacity. Purchasing another vehicle was not an option, so BluePrint Geneva developed a new route to transport the boxes from the farms into the city more efficiently. 

The program aims to expand access to high quality, healthy products that are customarily reserved for wealthier communities. To that end, the organization is still considering its subsidy model, contemplating whether a larger subsidy to SNAP customers could help grow the program, and if a sliding scale model for people who are not receiving SNAP, but are still in need of assistance, is still possible.  

Co-Funding and Additional Funds Leveraged: N/A