Michigan Legislature Can Increase Food Security through Continued Support of the Double Up Food Bucks Program

By Holly A. Parker, Chief Strategy and Program Officer at Fair Food Network

Food insecurity is a serious problem in Michigan—one that’s continuing to grow. 

According to the latest federal data, nearly 12 percent of Michiganders, or more than a million people, are struggling to put food on the table. In high poverty areas, for example parts of Detroit or rural Isabella County, that number skyrockets to as high as 69 percent

When the rising cost of groceries is factored in, more and more people are being priced out of their basic needs, especially healthy food. But there is a solution on the table: In our home state, our Double Up Food Bucks program increases the purchasing power of individuals and families with low incomes so they can bring home more of the Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables they need and want.  

We launched Double Up in Detroit at the height of the Great Recession. Now, more than 230,000 Michiganders participate in the program every year, using their Michigan Bridge/EBT Card benefits (also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) at participating locations to match their fruit and vegetable purchases dollar for dollar, up to $20 a day. That can translate to twice the fresh vegetables and fruits in one shopping trip, helping families buy the healthy food they want while providing an economic boost to Michigan farmers and keeping more dollars in local communities.  

Today, more than 230 grocery stores, farmers markets, and farm stands across Michigan participate in Double Up. Since 2009, 45 million pounds of healthy food have been purchased by Michigan families through the program, supporting about 800 local farmers every year. This represents a significant economic boost in Michigan, since one dollar spent at a farmers market can generate $1.70 for a community’s economy, while every dollar spent at a local grocery store can generate $1.40.  

Fair Food Network works to build community health, wealth, and resiliency in our home state of Michigan and beyond. We believe that every family deserves access to healthy and affordable food. The Double Up program has worked so well that we’ve expanded it nationally—it is now offered in more than 900 locations across dozens of states.  

This year, June 1016 has been designated Double Up Food Bucks Awareness Week in Michigan.  In the wake of the pandemic, participation in the Double Up program more than doubled, and the level of need we’ve seen during the program’s 15th anniversary has never been greater.  Continued support from our state leaders is essential to ensuring that families can continue to use Double Up as a valuable resource to stretch their monthly food budgets following a period of record inflation. Thankfully, the State of Michigan recently authorized funding for Double Up through 2024. We hope the Michigan Legislature continues to see the wisdom of partnering with us as we work to build a fair and healthy future for us all. 


Double Up Food Bucks was first launched in Detroit in 2009 by Fair Food Network. Since then, the program has become a national model for nutrition incentives and has been adopted by partners in 29 other states to improve healthy food access and boost local economies in their communities.

In addition to running the Double Up Food Bucks program in Michigan, Fair Food Network provides national technical assistance on behalf of the Nutrition Incentive Hub. Led by the Center for Nutrition and Health Impact in partnership with Fair Food Network and the University of California, San Francisco, the Nutrition Incentive Hub works with hundreds of nutrition incentive and produce prescription practitioners across states, U.S. territories, and tribal nations to evaluate, innovate, and scale their work to reach more people. 


Find more information about Double Up Food Bucks, as well as participating markets, farm stands, and grocery stores, at DoubleUpFoodBucks.org 

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