Michigan Legislature Increases Funds to Support Fair Food Network’s Successful Double Up Food Bucks Nutrition Incentive Program
29 June 2023 | DETROIT, MICH. – Today, Michigan legislators announced funding for Fair Food Network’s successful Double Up Food Bucks program, which will help low income Michigan families using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to buy more fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets and grocery stores. The process to increase funding began with the Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Budget Recommendation in early February and concluded with the passage of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) budget.
Double Up Food Bucks matches Michigan-grown produce purchases for Michiganders using SNAP dollar for dollar, up to $10 a day. The program enables residents to stretch their monthly food budgets while getting twice the fresh fruits and vegetables for their families. Today’s funding announcement brings the total amount of state funding for Double Up Food Bucks in Michigan to $4.9 million over the remainder of fiscal years 2023 and 2024.
“Double Up Food Bucks is working across the state to help children, families, and seniors use their SNAP benefits to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. We are grateful for this support from the Michigan legislature to help us continue to bring this essential community resource to Michigan in its current footprint – allowing families to bring home more healthy food, putting more dollars into the pockets of local farmers, and boosting local economies,” commented Kate Krauss, CEO at Fair Food Network.
Double Up was piloted by Fair Food Network in Detroit in 2009 and it has since become a national model for nutrition incentive programs. The program is a triple win: more healthy food for families, better business for farmers, and a boost for local economies. Today, Double Up is offered in more than 250 locations across Michigan. From 2019 to 2022, usage of the program increased by 212%, helping families stretch their monthly food budget and afford more fruits and vegetables during a time with record rates of inflation on grocery items.
From August 1, 2022 to January 22, 2023, Double Up established a temporary pause in earning at participating grocery stores across the state – excluding all Double Up Flint locations. This temporary pause allowed Double Up to sustain available program funding. The program ended the temporary pause in January 2023, and offered the program with a new spending cap of $10 a day, rather than $20 a day in previous years.
The program continues to be an essential community resource, helping individuals and families using SNAP bring home more fresh fruits and vegetables, especially during times of high inflation and reduced COVID-era federal benefits. The program is funded by a combination of state, federal, and philanthropic dollars. This latest funding from the state helps Fair Food Network continue the program in its current footprint and operate year-round.
“The City of Flint and recently impacted communities across Michigan will not see an interruption in Double Up Food Bucks this year,” commented State Sen. John Cherry (D-Flint), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and Rural Development and Natural Resources. “This private and public partnership ensures we are able to access USDA nutrition incentives to bring home more Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables.”
State Rep. Julie Brixie (D-Meridian Township), Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and Rural Development and Natural Resources added, “Michigan families and farmers will be able to count on access to more Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables thanks to the bipartisan support for Double Up Food Bucks.”
Of farmers who participated in Double Up, 90% sold more fruits and vegetables, and 85% made more money. With greater sales, some farmers have been able to expand their production and even buy or lease new equipment—giving a particular boost to Michigan farmers just starting out. In addition to meeting the nutritional needs of our communities, participating grocery stores are required to maintain 20% Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables in their store during peak growing season in order to maintain their eligibility.
For more information about the program and find a location near you, visit DoubleUpFoodBucks.org.
Andi Nank, email@example.com, 734-213-3999 x221