Double Up Advocates for State Funding
Field & Fork Network is actively advocating for a $2 million annual appropriation in the state budget. All state funding will be used to leverage additional federal funds, which require a 100% match, through the USDA’s Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive grant program. If we can secure state funding, that would mean an additional $4 million for New York families, farmers, and local communities. It will allow Double Up to expand to approximately 50 new sites across the state– reaching ~100,000+ new SNAP customers and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the program.
We continue to meet with state representatives who have expressed support for the program; Assemblymembers Demond Meeks, of Rochester, Donna Lupardo, of Binghamton, and Mark Walczyk committed to introducing a support letter. However, this is only the first step in a lengthy process, and we need your help!
If you are willing to help us, please click below so we can keep you updated with advocacy opportunities.
Partnership Spotlight: AdkAction
AdkAction is a small but mighty nonprofit serving the rural communities of the Adirondack Park. With a shared vision of creating a more sustainable food system, they have been a strong partner and leader in their region; developing innovative ideas on how to address food insecurity. One example of this is the Fair Food Pricing Program. The program stemmed from their Emergency Food Boxes, which delivered a weekly box of 15 healthy fresh meals, sourced mostly from local farms for individuals facing food insecurity due to COVID 19. The boxes were a huge success, with more than 64,000 meals delivered.
Building off this success, they recently piloted the Fair Food Program, bringing locally produced food into reach for those hovering just above the poverty line. The program is open to anyone but gives qualified* households a discount code to take 30% off the price of farm fresh packages. In addition to the discount, SNAP recipients can use their EBT card and Double Up Food Bucks to pay for the packages. These food boxes do more than deliver fresh food; they create a connection between the food and the community, break down barriers and eliminate misconceptions. We hope to see more programs like this across the state.
Moreover, AdkAction has been critical to the success of Double Up in the region. They helped identify and facilitate relationships with several new sites: The Hub on the Hill, Keeseville Farmacy, Lake Placid Farmer’s Market and Saranac Lake Farmer’s Market. They are also the host site for our Americorps VISTA, Jennifer Stanton. Jennifer has been instrumental in developing partnerships and increasing awareness for the Double Up program in the Adirondack region.
We are thankful to have such a strong and supportive partner! We look forward to building new opportunities together.
Want to support the Fair Food Pricing program, click here to donate!
* The income calculator used to determine eligibility is from United Way’s ALICE (Asset Limited Income Constrained and Employed) budget.
Doubling Down on Grocery
One of our top priorities for 2022 is expansion into more grocery stores across the state. We kicked off the year by bringing on three new stores: Greater Good Grocery in Binghamton, Syracuse Cooperative Market (2 locations), and Honest Weight Food Co-op in Albany, all launched this January. These stores will complement the existing farmers’ markets in their respective regions and ensure participants have access to fresh food all year round. These sites all use Double Up loyalty cards, allowing for interoperability between our existing markets. The launches were well received by the community, and we secured a lot of great coverage by local media. We hope to see increased participation in the program and greater community awareness across the board.
We are excited for the year ahead, as we continue to expand across the state and bring Double Up to more communities in need!
READ ABOUT THE LAUNCHES BELOW:
Workforce Development Pilot Launches
Food Pathways, a 12-week workforce development and training program that introduces individuals to career opportunities in the food system launched as a pilot program on January 11th.
The program is a priority of the Niagara Falls Local Food Action Plan, a larger initiative that Tom Lowe, our Project Director has been spearheading. We partnered with Niagara Falls High School to identify 12 seniors interested in participating in the program. The program curriculum was developed with Niagara University’s Global Tourism Institute.
Training will focus on technical aspects of the food system and on the soft skills needed to obtain and retain a job. Participants will be prepared to enter the workforce through sessions led by practitioners in both the food and business community. They will provide students with tangible, real-world insights on jobs in the food system and assist participants in developing and honing resumes, cover letters, interview skills, personal branding, and financial literacy skills.
The classroom work is complimented by field trips to local companies who all play a different role within the food system, including: Rich Products, Becker Farms, Wegmans, Wheatfield Gardens, Arrowhead Springs Vineyards and more.
At the end of the program, students will have the opportunity to be linked to job shadowing, internships, and employment opportunities. Students will also receive a $500 scholarship for participation.
The curriculum development and pilot program were funded by a grant through General Motors. We hope to continue the relationship with GM and Niagara Falls High School and expand the program for adults.