Double Up Food Bucks program to expand fresh food access now underway across Michigan

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Double Up Food Bucks, the successful program designed by Fair Food Network both to expand access to healthy food for low-income Michigan residents and to support Michigan farmers, is now underway for a fourth season.

Double Up Food Bucks doubles the value of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits—also known as SNAP, or food stamps—when used for fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables at nearly 100 farmers’ markets across Michigan.

Consumers can see a map of participating markets and watch a video of how the program works at Doubleupfoodbucks.org.

This year, Fair Food Network has also launched an initiative to make Double Up Food Bucks available at three full-service grocery stores in Detroit: Metro Foodland, Mike’s Fresh Market on Gratiot and Honey Bee Market.

“Double Up Food Bucks has a strong record of success, and the grocery pilot will expand that impact,” said Fair Food Network President and CEO Oran Hesterman. “By reaching shoppers in grocery stores, we’re continuing to build the model for a scalable program”

In the grocery pilot, SNAP recipients who spend at least $10 on produce items using a Michigan Bridge Card will get a Double Up Food Bucks Reward Card good for another $10 of Michigan-grown produce.

Also new this year, Kent County farmers’ markets will use mobile technology that allows vendors to process SNAP benefits electronically. That means SNAP customers can use their Michigan Bridge cards to participate in Double Up Food Bucks directly with individual farmers rather than first obtaining Double Up tokens from a central booth.

“The Kent County initiative makes Double Up Food Bucks easier for both consumers and vendors,” Hesterman said. “Our hope is that the innovations we pioneer in Michigan will one day help vulnerable families across the nation.”

Double Up Food Bucks began in 2009 at five farmers’ markets in Detroit. Customers have since visited scores of participating markets over 100,000 times, spending about $3.5 million in combined SNAP benefits and incentive dollars for fresh, healthful foods from local producers. Currently, 43 percent of farmers’ markets in Michigan are authorized to accept SNAP benefits.

Double Up Food Bucks is supported by nearly 50 funders, including:

Americana Foundation
Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation
Bank of America
Battle Creek Community Foundation
Bay Area Community Foundation
Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department
C.S. Mott Foundation
Capital Region Community Foundation
Charter One Foundation
Chelsea Community Foundation
Community Foundation for Muskegon County
Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
Erb Family Foundation
Four County Community Foundation
Grand Rapids Community Foundation
Irving S. Gilmore Foundation
Jackson County Community Foundation
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Kresge Foundation
Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
McGregor Fund
Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
Michigan Department of Human Services
Michigan Nutrition Network at the Michigan Fitness Foundation
New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
Newman’s Own Foundation
Open Society Foundations
Osprey Foundation
Panta Rhea
R.E. Olds Foundation
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Ruth Mott Foundation
Saginaw Community Foundation
Slemons Foundation
The Jewish Fund
Toledo Community Foundation
U.S. Department of Agriculture
United Way of Greater Toledo
United Way of Southeast Michigan
University of Toledo
Uplift Solutions
Utopia Foundation
Village of Dundee
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Whole Foods Market
Wholesome Wave
Woodcock Foundation

Read more http://www.michronicleonline.com/index.php/news-briefs-original/13170-double-up-food-bucks-program-to-expand-fresh-food-access-now-underway-across-michigan

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