In Network News

Field & Fork Network’s Nutrition Incentive program increases healthy food access for low-income families, supports local farmers

Buffalo, NY – Field & Fork Network is seeking applications for the 2021 Double Up Food Bucks Season. Farmers markets, mobile markets, farm stands, grocery, and small retail sites in New York State that accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) benefits are eligible to apply for the program.

Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) is a national model for healthy food incentive programs that provides individuals and families who use SNAP benefits with a dollar-for-dollar match that encourages the purchase of healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Since piloting DUFB at seven Western New York farmers markets in 2014, Field & Fork Network has expanded the DUFB program into over 150 locations across 23 counties in the state and has served over 22,500 SNAP customers. “The Double Up program is a win-win-win,” said Lisa French, co-founder and executive director of Field & Fork Network. “Low-income families bring home more healthy food, local farmers sell more produce, and more food dollars stay in the local economy.”

Here’s how DUFB works: It matches the value of SNAP dollars spent on locally grown fruits and vegetables, up to $20 per day, providing shoppers with additional dollars to bring home more produce. SNAP users can sign up for the program easily and quickly at any participating location.

As New Yorkers continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the Double Up program can provide low-income consumers with a much-needed way to stretch their food dollars. “Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, more New Yorkers are facing the choice between being hungry and eating healthy every day,” says French. “Bringing the Double Up program into more sites across the state can help eliminate that choice.”

Businesses in the local farming and agriculture sector have seen an influx in customers because of Double Up Food Bucks. The ability for customers to stretch their food dollars with the incentive has driven new customers to Double Up sites and created opportunities for market partners to grow their business. “Creekside [Market] has been a seasonal market since inception [but] DUFB is one of the key reasons we are becoming a year-round grocery store/farm market,” said Alan Butzer, owner of Creekside Market. “The additional sales from DUFB help justify our decision to operate year-round and create jobs.”

Interested sites can find the application and additional information about Double Up Food Bucks on the Double Up New York State website www.doubleupnys.com/getinvolved. Applications must be completed by Friday, April 23, 2021. Eligibility requirements apply.