Under this grant, AdkAction:
- Became the first food hub in the nation, along with its partner the Hub on the Hill, approved to accept online food purchases using SNAP benefits. The ability to shop online and have groceries delivered gives homebound residents and rural households greater access to affordable food.
- Expanded Fair Food Pricing’s customer base to make locally produced food available for purchase at a subsidized price for low-income households and at market price for high-income households, while also introducing an option for families to sponsor other households.
- Created a vendor agreement, training program, and vendor communications toolkit to promote the program.
- Worked with its local network to enroll more than 290 households and provide more than $40,000 in local food subsidies.
- Increased capacity to serve more households by recruiting 32 local farmers and vendors across the North Country to be suppliers in the program.
- Provided technical assistance, including a how-to manual, to help other small vendors across the State apply to become online SNAP vendors and streamline the process.
AdkAction learned several key lessons. First, the initial effort to find a software interface that would meet U.S. Department of Agriculture requirements and efficiently bring SNAP benefits online took time and required a lot of cross-sector coordination. The time and effort paid off because it paved the way for other vendors to follow and expand access.
Additionally, in a survey AdkAction administered to evaluate progress, it learned that while enrollment in the program increased, people continued to feel anxious about their food security. This finding demonstrates the lingering effects of food insecurity on mental health while underscoring the need for the program to expand and grow its efforts.
On April 20, 2023, NYHealth hosted a webinar: How New York is Leading the Way in Online SNAP to share the final outcomes and how-to manual with more vendors and food programs.
Co-Funding and Additional Funds Leveraged: Additional funders of the Fair Food Pricing Program include the Adirondack Foundation ($37,000) and the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation ($75,000). The Hub now can serve 30,000 SNAP-eligible households within its delivery radius, opening up access to $7.8 million in federal dollars that will circulate within the local community.