“We’ve all been excited about the new fruit and vegetable vouchers in the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program, representing potentially about half a billion dollars per year spent on fruits and vegetables,” Pivonka said. “Just imagine how much impact it would have if we could redirect more of the $50 billion food stamps to fruits and vegetables.”
The Food and Nutrition Service is encouraging the chosen state to consult and partner with WIC agencies that have experience with retailer and participant training on the purchase of targeted fruits and vegetables. All retailers in the chosen test market should have the option to participate.
“I would hope to see a significant increase in fruit and vegetable consumption for those in this pilot test so that it could be implemented nationally,” Pivonka said. “From what I see in the request for application, the intent is to conduct this one test in such a way that it could be implemented nationally.”
The USDA is expected to award a cooperative agreement by late summer, and is allotting until November 2011 for planning, testing and training.
The operation phase of the pilot would follow, December 2011 until February 2013.
By June 2013, the plan is to have a formal presentation on the pilot’s results presented at the Food and Nutrition Services headquarters.