Program helps food stamps go farther at farm markets

August 13, 2010

Source: Michigan Radio

Starting this week, people who shop with food stamps at Detroit’s farmer’s markets can see their money go twice as far.

The “Double Up Food Bucks” program was developed by the Fair Food Network, which is headed by Oran Hesterman. He says Detroiters spend $450 million a year in food stamps. And he says 60 percent of that money is spent at liquor stores, party stores, and gas station convenience stores.

“So we know that there is a lot of room for improvement of how the bridge card dollars are spent, in terms of purchasing healthier and more balanced food for diets in their families,” said Hesterman. “And we also know there’s plenty of room here to use some of that federal food assistance to support our local farmers and our local food economy.”

Right now the program is just available at five markets in Detroit. But Hesterman says it’s coming to Washtenaw County and the Battle Creek area in the fall. And he expects to make it available statewide within about three years.

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