$11 million ARPA Proposal

Improving Nutritional Security, Food Access, and Food Equity in Baltimore City During and After COVID-19


The ARPA projects managed by the Food Policy and Planning team fall under the “Clean and Healthy Communities” section of Mayoral Priority Outcomes. The goal of this project is to build an equitable and resilient food system to mitigate the negative impacts associated with food insecurity during and after the COVID-19 pandemic by: improving access to healthy affordable food, increasing produce distribution and incentivization, and addressing the food supply chain failure by building the BIPOC local food production supply chain. Evaluation data from each pillar will be utilized to create food system policies and programs for the future. Overall, what makes this project innovative is that it is a comprehensive food systems strategy, not just one project in one community.

produceContinue COVID-19 Emergency Produce Box Distribution

The Produce Box Distribution Program is a $4.5 million ARPA investment the first of its kind in Maryland, and was created back in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides a 15-pound box of fresh locally grown produce to residents in partnership with community organizations. The overall goal of this program is to increase access to fresh produce in the communities that need it the most. The City of Baltimore classifies these communities as healthy food priority areas, otherwise known as food deserts. Partners; The Common Market and 32 community organizations

  • 133,000 produce boxes
  • 14 million fruit and vegetable servings

osIncrease Online SNAP Participation to Address the Inequity of Home Delivered Groceries 

In response to rising SNAP participation and online grocery shopping trends exhibited throughout the pandemic, the City has allocated $3.6 million in ARPA funds to increase online SNAP participation and provide fruit and vegetable vouchers to SNAP participants shopping online. Online SNAP refers to the ability for SNAP participants to use their benefits online to purchase groceries that are delivered to their homes. In partnership with online SNAP-approved retailers, the City is implementing B’more Fresh, an online SNAP incentive program that distributes monthly fruit and vegetable vouchers to SNAP participants shopping online. This effort addresses inequitable access to home-delivered groceries, and digital equity, and ensures residents have a choice in where they shop. Partners; Giant, Safeway, Amazon, and SNAP-ED

  • $25,850 worth of vouchers issued to customers
  • 336 households served 

fmExpand Nutrition Incentives at Farmers Markets

FPP has partnered with Maryland Market Money (MMM) to expand the use of nutrition electronic incentives at Baltimore City farmers' markets through a $450,000 investment. Currently, the nutrition incentive program is a physical token, which customers can redeem with the vendor of their choice. To help transition farmers to e-incentives, MMM provides vendors with technical resources that will allow them to effectively accept nutrition e-incentives. MMM is also providing guidance and support for market customers who are new to the e-incentives. MMM participants will receive a dollar-for-dollar match per person per market day when they spend their federal nutrition assistance benefits (e.g. SNAP, Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), WIC) to purchase produce and SNAP-eligible foods. Partner; Maryland Market Money

  • Over $1,000 in nutrition incentives redeemed thus far
  • Operating at 3 farmers' markets 

prImplement a Food is Medicine Program at MedStar Harbor Hospital

Food is a Medicine program at MedStar Harbor Hospital that aims to provide patients with produce for 10 medically tailored meals per week. $450,000 has been allocated to this pillar to improve diet-related health outcomes and reduce the total cost of care. Food Policy and Planning hopes to use the data and findings of this pilot program to inform future policies around insurance and medically tailored meals. Looking ahead Food is Medicine will distribute the necessary resources needed to manage chronic disease and increase access to care. Partner; MedStar Harbor Hospital

  • 53 patients enrolled in the pilot program thus far
  • Over $10,000 in medically tailored meals served

bpBuild BIPOC Local Food Supply Chain by Improving Access to Produce 

The Farm Alliance of Baltimore’s farm incubator project operates the "Black Butterfly Urban Farm Academy" in Farring-Baybrook Park in South Baltimore. The Farm Alliance has worked in close partnership with FPP to develop the ARPA proposal and to secure the 15-year BCRP lease for the roughly 6 acres of the farm incubator space. The City is granting the Farm Alliance $1.5 million to build out the infrastructure of the incubator. The academy repurposes a parcel of underutilized city land while providing mentorship and training to up-and-coming BIPOC farmers. The trainees learn valuable sustainable agriculture skills and receive a stipend for their time. Providing financial resources to BIPOC-led urban farms not only empowers the community, it also supports the future of a more sustainable food system. Partners; Farm Alliance of Baltimore

  • 380 households served
  • 5,700 pounds of produce grown