Michigan lawmakers applauded for funding program supporting state farmers, families

$1 Million allocated for Double Up Food Bucks healthy food incentive program

1 October 2019 | FLINT, Mich.—Fair Food Network applauded Michigan lawmakers for their bipartisan support for a homegrown program supporting farmers and families.

The House and Senate approved $1 million for the healthy food incentive program Double Up Food Bucks in the state 2020 budget that Gov. Whitmer signed today. This is in addition to a $2 million one-time appropriation provided in June. State support is leveraging federal and private funding, bringing additional dollars to Michigan.

“Michiganders are proud of Double Up for good reason—it is a creative solution that provides real economic benefits for Michigan farmers while improving healthy food access for our lowest income families,” said Kate Krauss, executive director and chief operating officer of Fair Food Network. “We’re lucky to have lawmakers who champion innovative ways to make a real difference for people in their districts.”

This funding will support growth of the Double Up program to additional counties across the state, generating additional benefits for Michigan farmers and families.

Fair Food Network saluted the Governor and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for their championship of the Double Up program. It also applauded Sen. Roger Victory (R, Hudsonville) and Rep. Greg VanWoerkom (R, Norton Shores), chairs of the Senate and House appropriations subcommittees on agriculture and rural development, respectively, alongside Rep. Ann Bollin (R, Brighton), Rep. Sheryl Kennedy (D, Davison), Sen. Sean McCann (D, Kalamazoo), and Sen. Jim Stamas (R, Midland) for prioritizing Double Up.

Double Up matches SNAP dollars spent on fresh fruits and vegetables. Its benefits are three-fold: a win for state farmers selling more produce; a win for low-income families putting more healthy food on their tables; and a win for local businesses and economies. (SNAP stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.)

The ten-year-old program — originally piloted at five Detroit farmers markets — is now available at more than 250 grocery stores and farmers markets throughout Michigan. More than 25 states across the nation now offer their own Double Up programs modeled after Michigan’s flagship effort.

In Michigan, more than $21 million in combined SNAP and Double Up sales have occurred since 2009 — dollars directly benefiting Michigan farmers and local businesses — bringing 13.5 million pounds of healthy food to Michigan families.

Double Up’s track record of proven impact for farmers and families in Michigan and across the nation helped make federal support for healthy food incentives a permanent part of future farm bills. State funding is leveraging this new federal support.

“Double Up Food Bucks has been a unifier from the start,” said Oran Hesterman, founder and CEO of Fair Food Network. “It brings together farmers and families. It brings together communities. And as we’ve seen again this year, it brings together legislators from both sides of the aisle. We look forward to continuing and deepening our partnership with the state.”

This funding joins additional support provided over the years by the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, Bank of America, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, Frey Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Health Endowment Fund, Newman’s Own Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Osprey Foundation, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Ruth Mott Foundation, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Wege Foundation, and Woodcock Foundation, among others.

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About Fair Food Network

Fair Food Network is a national nonprofit whose mission is to grow community health and wealth through food. A decade in, our work is connecting people to the power of food to improve health, ignite local economies, and open opportunities for all — especially in our most underserved communities. Dig deeper at fairfoodnetwork.org or follow Fair Food Network on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.