ANN ARBOR, Mich., Aug. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Fair Food Network announced today $3.5 million in new federal funding to expand and innovate the Double Up Food Bucks produce incentive program in Michigan, Colorado, and Western New York. This was matched by philanthropic and State of Michigan support.
"Support for produce incentives has energized the field with direct benefits for low-income families and American farmers," said Oran Hesterman, CEO of Fair Food Network, which developed the Double Up model in 2009 in Michigan. "Senator Stabenow has been a steadfast champion of this work, which today is garnering support from across the political spectrum."
Produce incentives boost the value of SNAP (formerly known as "food stamps") when spent on fruits and vegetables. For instance, if a family spends $10 in SNAP benefits at a farmers market, they receive $10 in Double Up Food Bucks to buy locally grown produce.
Fair Food Network is a national leader in this work. New funding continues program growth and innovation with a focus on:
- Grocery expansion in Michigan, Colorado, and Western New York. While SNAP incentives began in farmers markets, grocery is a critical venue to reach more consumers. Many grocery sites in Michigan will also start running year-round.
- Technology Innovations:
- E-Incentives: Until recently, most farmers markets processed incentives with physical tokens. New electronic transaction technologies will be deployed in all three states.
- Interoperability: In select Michigan communities, shoppers will be able to earn Double Up Food Bucks at one site and redeem them at a different location. This technology was developed in Flint to help residents get more fresh produce in response to the lead crisis. Double Up is now reaching approximately 40% of SNAP households in Flint, up from 9% before the launch of this tech innovation one year ago.
The Double Up model is now active in 23 states. Many programs are supported by USDA's National Institute of Food & Agriculture's Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program, established in the 2014 Farm Bill. Partners in Hawai'i, Iowa, and Nevada also received FINI awards this year. Fair Food Network first received FINI funding in 2015.
Philanthropic support is being provided by Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Michigan Health Endowment Fund, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, Ruth Mott Foundation, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, and Wege Foundation.
This builds on a foundation of support provided over the years by Bank of America, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Newman's Own Foundation, Osprey Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Woodcock Foundation, among others.
FAIR FOOD NETWORK pioneers solutions that support farmers, strengthen local economies, and increase access to healthy food—especially in our most underserved communities.
SOURCE Fair Food Network