Leveraging Federal Funds to Increase Access to Fresh, Affordable Foods Across New York State
Healthy Food, Healthy Lives
January 3, 2017
Double Up Food Bucks is a food-purchasing program that offers Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients a matching value on dollars spent at farmers markets on fresh, locally grown produce.
For instance, a family that spends $10 in SNAP benefits at a participating farmers market receives an additional $10 in Double Up Food Bucks to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables. With a successful track record nationwide, the incentive program is a proven, innovative model that simultaneously delivers health and economic opportunity. Currently, Double Up Food Bucks operates in 11 counties across Western New York. Expanding the program in the State will not only increase access to affordable produce for low-income individuals and families, but also redirect more food assistance dollars to local farmers and the local economy. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded Field & Fork Network a grant to expand and improve Double Up Food Bucks participation in New York State.
Under this grant, Field & Fork planned and implemented activities to double the number of counties in the State that participate in Double Up Food Bucks; increase SNAP dollars spent at existing Double Up Food Bucks farmers markets and new year-round farmers markets; establish new Double Up Food Bucks mobile markets; and replicate the program directly in neighborhoods where SNAP participants live and at healthy corner stores. An ultimate goal was to develop a technology system where Double Up Food Bucks could be used by customers to purchase healthy food at any participating venue. Grant activities included identifying new partners as the program expands into new communities and training of all market managers on how the program works and best practices for addressing customer and vendor issues and questions. In addition, Field & Fork conducted marketing and outreach; ensured that all participating markets have the tools they need to successfully operate the program; worked with nutrition education partners to coordinate customer outreach activities; and provided ongoing technical assistance and oversight at all Double Up Food Bucks markets.