ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 8, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Fair Food Network announced today that partners working in nine states received more than $7 million in federal funding to launch or expand Double Up Food Bucks programs, which increase the value of food stamps for healthy foods.
Double Up efforts will reach more than one million SNAP recipients in 235 farmers markets and 148 grocery and corner stores in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, New Mexico, New York, and Oklahoma. Kansas and Missouri will unite efforts in the first multi-state statewide effort. Project overviews are available at bit.ly/DoubleUpFINI.
"Double Up improves the nutrition of low-income families and the bottom lines of local farmers," said Oran Hesterman, president and CEO of Fair Food Network, which developed the Double Up model in Michigan in 2009. "We're honored to work with local partners nationwide as they bring this tested model to their communities."
Double Up increases low-income shoppers' purchasing power for fruits and vegetables while supporting local growers. For instance, a family that spends $10 in SNAP benefits at a participating farmers market or grocery store receives an additional $10 in Double Up Food Bucks to bring home locally grown fruits and vegetables. (SNAP stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.)
Double Up has garnered a wide array of supporters with advocates pointing to its threefold wins:
getting more healthy food to low-income families;
putting more money in the pockets of local growers;
boosting local food economies.
This is the second round of funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food & Agriculture's Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grants program established in the 2014 Farm Bill. In 2015, FINI funding supported partners in Louisiana, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah in launching incentive programs in consultation with Fair Food Network. Fair Food Network received the second largest grant nationally to support work in Michigan and Ohio.
Organizations that adopt the Double Up model benefit from Fair Food Network's years of experience, along with tools and templates such as marketing materials to help them quickly establish programs in their communities.
"We simply could not launch our SNAP incentive program without Fair Food Network's support," said Katrina Betancourt, president of the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention, which is piloting Double Up in 21 farmers markets this year.
Since the 2009 launch of Double Up in Michigan, SNAP shoppers have spent more than $8 million in combined Double Up and SNAP benefits on healthy food. More than 1,000 Michigan farmers participate annually.
FAIR FOOD NETWORK works with a diverse network of partners and pioneers solutions that support farmers, strengthen local economies, and increase access to healthy food—especially in our most underserved communities. fairfoodnetwork.org | Facebook & Twitter @FairFoodNetwork