NBC News: Food Stamp Recipients in Michigan Double Up on Fruits, Veggies

August 25, 2014

Source: NBC News
Author: Kavita Varma-White

In Michigan, an innovative program brings more locally grown fruits and vegetables to residents living on food stamps.
NBC Nightly News - Fair Food Network
Called Double Up Food Bucks, it’s the creation of Oran Hesterman, founder of the Fair Food Network. How it works: Food stamp recipients bring a special SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) card to a farmer’s market, food truck or grocery store. If they spend $20, they get an additional $20 to spend on Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables.
It’s one way to help make ends meet for parents like Latice Ford, an unemployed mother of three.
“The kids go through the fruit faster than I can keep it in the refrigerator or on the table, which isn't a bad thing,” says Ford.
At farmers markets in Michigan, 93 percent of Double Up participants say they’re eating more fruits and veggies, while 83 percent report buying fewer high-fat, low-nutrition snacks, Hesterman says.
Ford’s family is an example of that, as she says the fruit “replaces all the candy, all the chips, all the pop.”
“We take a SNAP program that was initially intended as an anti-hunger program and turn it into an anti-hunger and pro-health program, we literally can pay the farmer now instead of the doctor later,” says Hesterman.
Farmers markets across the country have started accepting SNAP cards — you can find a list here. But the Double Up food bucks is a bonus at more than 150 sites across Michigan. Learn more about the program at fairfoodnetwork.org or doubleupfoodbucks.org.
Dig deeper in the Double Up Food Bucks 5-year report