Without warning, the Trump administration’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget included a proposal to radically reform the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps. In recent years, SNAP has provided nutrition benefits via an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card—similar to a credit card—intended to reduce stigma and increase program participation relative to use of paper coupons. In sharp contrast, the administration’s “Harvest Box” proposal would replace about half of the dollar value of the SNAP benefit with a home-delivered, USDA-specified package. This paper gives the Harvest Box proposal careful consideration, drawing on existing literature to assess its likely impacts, and sketching a plan for a formal evaluation of the program’s feasibility and impact.
April 18, 2018