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Double Up Food Bucks
How Michigan’s healthy food incentive program is benefiting families, farmers, and local economies
Fair Food Network’s Double Up Food Bucks (Double Up) program makes it easier for low-income Americans to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables while supporting family farmers and growing local economies.
How it works. Double Up provides Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries with a one-to-one match to purchase healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables.
Watch NBC Nightly News story now.
The wins are three-fold: low-income families bring home more healthy food, local farmers gain new customers and make more money, and more food dollars stay in the local economy. Each creates a ripple effect across the communityof benefits.
Since 2009, Double Up has expanded from five farmers markets in Detroit to more than 150 sites across Michigan. Double Up has also been at the forefront of innovations in healthy food incentives, expanding the model to grocery stores and developing new mobile payment systems.
Looking Ahead. A $5.1 million grant from the USDA’s new Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grants program will be matched with private funds for a total of nearly $10.4 million to expand Double Up in Michigan. This will allow Fair Food Network to bring the program to more farmers markets, help markets adopt mobile technology and be open year-round, and increase program use in up to 50 grocery and small food stores across the state. Dig deeper in our press release.
When more Americans buy healthy food from local farmers, everyone wins.
Families have healthier choices.
- Low-income families have bought 4+ million pounds of healthy food with SNAP and Double Up since 2009
- 87% report eating more fruits and vegetables because of Double Up; 69% report trying new fruits and vegetables
- Just as important, 66% report decreasing the among of junk food they eat
Farmers get a financial boost.
- Since 2009, Michigan farmers have increased their income with 7+ million in new SNAP and Double Up sales
- 1,000+ farmers participate each year
- 63% report making more money; 50% report gaining a new customer base
- Our evaluation shows that an increasing number of farmers report that they are planning to buy new equipment, put more land into production, extend their season, and increase the variety of crops they are growing because of Double Up
Local economies thrive.
- In 2007, less than $16,000 in SNAP dollars were spent at Michigan farmers markets. In 2014, SNAP sales at Michigan farmers markets totaled more than $1.6 million due in large part to the statewide implementation of Double Up Food Bucks along with the leadership of the Michigan Farmers Market Association. Today, Michigan ranks third in the nation, and the highest in the Midwest, in SNAP dollars spent at farmers markets, yet less than 4% of all SNAP participants live in the state.
- SNAP recipients stimulate economic activity and opportunity within their communities—a dollar spent at a farmers market can generate $2.80 for the community’s economy. (Sonntag, V. “Why Local Linkages Matter: Findings from the Local Food Economy Study.” Seattle, Washington, Sustainable Seattle. April 2008)
From examining the economic benefits of healthy food incentives to field-testing new innovations in Michigan to developing a toolkit to support national expansion—our work has just begun.
Check out our new Double Up Food Bucks Five-Year Report.
Double Up is unique among the growing field of incentive programs nationwide. The program and associated tools have been compiled into a toolkit to support others in bringing it to their communities.
Our experience at farmers markets was brought to grocery stores in 2013 in one of the first pilots in the nation.
From annual evaluations to deeper dives into health impacts and technology innovations, we are committed to serious evaluation of our work. Evaluation results have informed program design and implementation, policy discussions, and the development of the Double Up toolkit.
Find a Participating Site
Visit doubleupfoodbucks.org to learn more about the program and find a participating site near you.
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Fair Food Network Feb. 2016 Testimony on Healthy Food Incentives in House Agriculture Nutrition Subcommittee Public Hearing