DENVER, June 8, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A statewide partnership led by LiveWell Colorado, Colorado Department of Human Services, the Colorado Farmers Market Association, Cooking Matters-Colorado, and Boulder County Public Health has just been awarded a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant that will bring more fresh produce to low-income families in 19 counties while supporting Colorado farmers.
"This grant will boost efforts to ensure Colorado families have access to locally grown foods," Senator Michael Bennet said. "LiveWell Colorado will help put fresh, nutritious food in the hands of those who need it while also supporting Colorado's farmers and the local economy."
The USDA grant will help to fund a program called Double Up Food Bucks Colorado, which increases the amount of fruits and vegetables available to low-income Coloradans. With Double Up Food Bucks Colorado, recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) will receive up to $20 in Colorado-grown fruits and vegetables when they use their SNAP benefits at participating farmers markets or select retailers.
"At least 50 partners have come together to make Double Up Food Bucks Colorado a reality," said Wendy Peters Moschetti, LiveWell Colorado Director of Food Systems. "Increasing access to healthy food for families who are low-income is an integral part of LiveWell Colorado's strategic approach to combatting obesity. We believe providing SNAP recipients with the ability to purchase more fruits and vegetables is an important step toward that objective."
Double Up Food Bucks Colorado will kick off in early July at 30 farmers markets and at five select retailers across Colorado. Over the next three years, the program will expand to more areas of the state to include at least 35 farmers markets and a dozen additional retailers, including Community Supported Agriculture, food co-operatives, corner stores and urban agriculture marketplaces located in low-income neighborhoods. A map of participating sites can be found at www.DoubleUpColorado.org.
The USDA FINI Grant brings half a million dollars of federal funding into Colorado, including more than $100,000 in cash incentives alone in 2016, with an increase in incentives in years two and three of the program. The grant was matched by more than $899,000 from 26 partners committing financial and in-kind support to make this program possible in Colorado.
"Double Up Food Bucks Colorado fills low-income families' hunger gap by increasing their food-buying power, and designates additional dollars for healthy fruits and vegetables grown by Colorado farmers. In this way, it addresses hunger, improves nutrition, and supports local growers and our local economy," added Moschetti.
Additional information and a list of partners participating in Double Up Food Bucks Colorado can be found here https://livewellcolorado.org/about/whats-new/livewell-blog/double-up-food-bucks-Colorado.
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SOURCE LiveWell Colorado