SNAP Program and Online Shopping

Food stamp recipients will soon be able to order groceries online, By Maura Judkis, January 10, 2017, Washington Post: “Beginning this summer, some Americans who receive food assistance will have a new way to feed their families. The Agriculture Department said that it will test a program that allows people on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — SNAP, known as food stamps — to order groceries online through various retailers. The ability to shop online could bring healthful food into food deserts, low-income areas where fresh food is not readily available…”

Rural Food Insecurity

Small Iowa town a window Into hunger problem in rural US, By Scott McFetridge (AP), October 12, 2016, ABC News: “Storm Lake, Iowa, appears the picture of economic health, a place where jobs are plentiful, the unemployment rate hovers near 3 percent, busy shops fill century-old brick buildings and children ride bikes on tree-lined sidewalks that end in the glare of its namesake lake.  But there’s a growing problem in the northwest Iowa city of 11,000, one that’s familiar to rural areas around the country: Thousands of working families and elderly residents don’t have enough money to feed themselves or their children. The issue persists even as national poverty rates have declined in the past year and prices for many food staples have dropped slightly…”

SNAP Program and Online Shopping

  • Why SNAP benefits could be going digital, By Christina Beck, September 15, 2016, Christian Science Monitor: “Online shopping has long been a boon for most Americans, whether they hate the scrutinizing stares of fellow shoppers, the chaos of big stores, or simply can’t get out the door. Soon, modifications to the federal food stamp program, SNAP, might make the benefits of online shopping available to some who could need it most: the many recipients who live in areas where there are fewer healthy grocery stores, known as ‘food deserts…'”
  • Federal food stamp program to test online shopping for recipients, By Greg Trotter, September 15, 2016, Chicago Tribune: “Starting next summer, Illinois residents on food stamps may be able to buy their groceries online through a two-year federal pilot program intended to increase food access for the poor.  Times, they are a’changin’, though faster for some than others. Online shopping has dramatically altered buying habits for most Americans in recent years, and now, the $75 billion federal food stamps program, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is moving toward making that option available to the 43 million or so people across the country receiving benefits…”

Food Deserts

AP Analysis: Despite push, food deserts remain barren, By Mike Schneider (AP), December 6, 2015, The Columbian: “As part of Michelle Obama’s healthy eating initiative, a group of major food retailers promised in 2011 to open or expand 1,500 grocery or convenience stores in and around neighborhoods with no supermarkets by 2016. By their own count, they’re far short.  Moreover, an analysis of federal food stamp data by The Associated Press reveals that the nation’s largest chains — not just the handful involved in the first lady’s group — have since built new supermarkets in only a fraction of the neighborhoods where they’re needed most…”

School Gardens

School gardens help fruit, vegetables to flourish in low-income food deserts, By Sanya Mansoor, August 10, 2015, Christian Science Monitor: “Green classrooms, incorporated into high school curricula, have sprouted nationwide to educate teenagers about nutrition and include them in community gardening. Participating students invest their time and energy in providing their neighborhoods with ready access to healthy and affordable food. As a result, they may also improve academic performance and engagement at school and pass on their knowledge and habits to their families…”

Food Deserts – Denver, CO

Corner stores in NE Denver part of pilot program for food deserts, By Colleen O’Connor, October 14, 2014, Denver Post: “Hip-hop artist Kingpen Ken stops by the Gem Food Mart in his northeast Denver neighborhood on the way to the recording studio, and plunks down two bottles of water and an orange juice on the counter. ‘It’s just better to eat healthy things before you go to the studio,’ he said. ‘It’s better energy for the day. If you eat candy, it’s weird energy all day.’ This colorful corner store, painted orange and lime green, sits at the intersection of East 30th Avenue and Downing Street in the Whittier neighborhood, which is considered a food desert, far from a full-service grocer. It’s one of five corner stores in a pilot program called the Healthy Corner Store Initiative, started in August by the city and county of Denver’s Department of Environmental Health, and funded by a grant of more than $327,000 from the Colorado Health Foundation…”

Food Deserts – Wichita, KS

Low-income Wichitans face barriers in finding healthier foods, By Becky Tanner, October 6, 2014, Wichita Eagle: “A new study released by the Health & Wellness Coalition of Wichita has found specific barriers preventing Wichitans in three ZIP codes from buying healthier foods. Last year, the coalition discovered 44 square miles in Wichita considered food deserts — areas where low-income residents have little to no access to healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables and who live more than a mile from a full-service grocery store. The new report, released last week, uncovers six barriers that affect those residents: cost, quality, transportation, stores, sources and personal…”

Farmers Markets and SNAP – California

New $2.5-million grant will help poor buy fresh, locally grown produce, By Russ Parsons, May 8, 2014, Los Angeles Times: “Market Match, an innovative program that aims to increase the amount of fresh produce available to low-income families by providing them matching funds to shop at farmers markets, has received a $2.5-million grant from First 5 L.A. that may as much as triple its reach over the next five years. The program provides a dollar-for-dollar match for all EBT and WIC recipients, up to $10 per week. The program has grown rapidly over the last four years, but this grant will allow it to expand its reach and standardize what previously had sometimes been a hodgepodge of rules and benefits…”

Farmers Markets and SNAP – North Carolina

Some NC farmers markets struggle to accept food stamps, By Andrea Weigl, April 10, 2014, News and Observer: “Consumers can use food stamps to buy produce at grocery stores, but the freshest local fruits and vegetables for sale at farmers markets are often not available to them. Many local markets would love to sell to those shoppers but find they don’t have the manpower or money to be able to accept food stamps. In Wake County, five small markets with grant funding and government or other financial support already accept or will soon be accepting food stamps; a few farmers at the state-run market off Lake Wheeler Road near downtown Raleigh accept them, too. Without such support, other markets have found the process daunting…”

Neighborhoods and Access to Supermarkets

Poor, mostly black areas face supermarket ‘double jeopardy’, By Emily Alpert Reyes, October 30, 2013, Los Angeles Times: “Poor, mostly black neighborhoods face double jeopardy when it comes to supermarket access, according to a study recently published by the journal Preventive Medicine. That may not sound like news at all: Scholars and activists have long fretted that poor, minority neighborhoods have worse access to supermarkets, which is tied to less healthy diets. But researchers from Johns Hopkins University wanted to see how different neighborhood traits — poverty and racial makeup — were related to the problem…”

Food Deserts – Wichita, KS

Wichitans face 44 square miles of ‘food deserts’ in low-income areas, By Beccy Tanner, October 7, 2013, Wichita Eagle: “Wichita has 44 square miles of food deserts – low-income areas where residents have little to no access to healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, a study presented Monday by the Health & Wellness Coalition of Wichita showed. In an urban area, a food desert is defined as an area more than one mile from a full-service grocery store. Here, those areas are concentrated in south, central, north and parts of west Wichita…”

Food Deserts – Washington, D.C.

Planting fresh produce in D.C.’s ‘food deserts’, By Tim Carman, June 19, 2012, Washington Post: “To reach Jimmy Singleton’s “corner store” at the Marbury Plaza Apartments in Ward 7, residents must take the elevator down to the basement and navigate a series of barren, unmarked hallways until they find a nondescript doorway that leads to Marbury Market. For the hundreds of residents here, this is their nearest grocery store. The co-owner learned the dangers of trying to survive on the market’s junk food-heavy stock — chips, sodas, candy bars, sticky buns and the like. Not long after he bought the store in 2005, Singleton turned it into his primary feeding trough. “In a year’s time, I had gained about 75 pounds,” he says. “I got so big, customers started talking about me.” He decided he needed to silence them; he made a New Year’s resolution to lose the pounds — by not eating at his market. . .”