Double Up Food Bucks program boosts local economy and healthy food access

For Immediate Release—May 14, 2013

Double Up Food Bucks program boosts local economy and healthy food access

New report confirms healthy incentives programs are good for farmers and low-income consumers

ANN ARBOR, MICH. — Low-income families are shifting their shopping habits towards healthier, fresh foods, and local farmers are benefitting from increased sales thanks to Double Up Food Bucks, an innovative model program of Fair Food Network. A new report on the program reveals dramatic increases in healthy food purchases at participating local farmers’ markets by low-income citizens in Michigan and Ohio, simultaneously benefitting farmers and consumers. The report confirms that healthy incentive programs such as Double Up Food Bucks are working and ought to be replicated nationally with federal support.

As the U.S. Farm Bill goes to mark up in the House and Senate, these new findings underscore the need for the federal government to invest in developing a national Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) farmers’ market incentive project that will support farmers and improve local economies while helping low-income consumers access healthy, fresh food.

The highly successful Double Up Food Bucks program encourages healthy food choices by matching every $1 of SNAP funds spent at participating famers’ markets up to a maximum of $20 per market visit. The matching funds can be spent on Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables at participating markets.

The 2012 Double Up Food Bucks evaluation survey was conducted by JFM consulting on a sample of 298 SNAP respondents, 121 farm vendors, and 42 farmers’ market managers across Michigan. The evaluation report is available at

According to the new evaluation report, an estimated 92 percent of local farmers surveyed reported a noticeable increase in the sale of fresh produce, and 83 percent reported an increase in revenue. Of participating families, 78 percent reported an increase in fresh produce purchases, and 81 percent reported trying different kinds of produce as a result of the program. Additionally, SNAP sales at Michigan farmers’ markets have grown to $1.5 million in four years, making the state the sales leader in the Midwest region.

“Double Up Food Bucks is successful because it boosts local economies and access to healthy foods at a time when low-income people are struggling to meet their basic needs,” said Dr. Oran Hesterman, president and chief executive officer of Fair Food Network. “When more people buy a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, they support a stronger and more sustainable food system that diversifies our farms and farmers’ incomes, and that’s healthier for our communities.”

Efforts to expand the Double Up Food Bucks program are underway. Farmers’ market participation increased from 54 to 75 markets in 2012 and is expected to grow to 97 markets this year. An overwhelming majority of SNAP recipients and farmers – 96 percent and 99 percent respectively – said they would participate in the program again.

Fair Food Network partners with more than 40 foundations, businesses, and government agencies, including Michigan Department of Human Services, to support the Double Up Food Bucks program.

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Contact: Jacqueline Lodewyke, Pyramid Communications, 503-869-9679

About Fair Food Network
Fair Food Network is a national nonprofit dedicated to building a more just and sustainable food system. The organization works at the intersection of food systems, sustainability, and social equity to provide access to healthy, fresh and sustainably grown food, especially in underserved communities. For more information, visit