Michigan’s Double Up Food Bucks Receives New Investment to Help Meet High Demand Across the State
29 NOVEMBER 2023 | DETROIT, MI – Today, Fair Food Network announced Double Up Food Bucks in Michigan received a new investment from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that will help the program meet the significant need in Michigan as families struggle to afford high food prices. The new funding will help ensure Michigan families can reliably afford to eat healthier food, while also benefitting farmers and food retailers.
“The need for Double Up Food Bucks is growing in every corner of the state as families continue to face challenges to afford healthy and nutritious food,” said Kate Krauss, CEO at Fair Food Network. “This new support will boost Double Up’s positive impact for Michigan farmers and families alike to ensure we can meet the high level of need. We appreciate our Congressional champions like Congressman Dan Kildee and U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow for their strong support of Double Up and we encourage them to further expand the program so we can provide more food security for households and boost income for farmers.”
Double Up was piloted by Fair Food Network in Detroit in 2009 and has since become a national model for nutrition incentive programs. The program helps Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants make their benefits go further by providing a dollar-for-dollar match when they buy fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets and grocery stores so they can ultimately put more healthy food on the table. This proven approach 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 240 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.
The program is funded by a combination of state, federal, and philanthropic dollars. The newly awarded $8.4 million federal investment comes from USDA’s Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP), which is authorized by the federal Farm Bill and provides grants to support similar nutrition incentive programs across the country. The new funding will help ensure the program can meet the significant need that exists in Michigan.
Due to the high demand in the past, Fair Food Network has had to take measures to limit the program to conserve resources, underscoring the necessity for additional funding. From August 2022 to January 2023, earning benefits were temporarily paused in most parts of the state in order to sustain available funding. When the program ended its temporary pause, the program restarted with a new spending cap of $10 a day, rather than $20 a day in previous years. In October 2023, Fair Food Network was able to restore the program to allow shoppers to earn up to $20-per-day.
“This flush of new funding makes a huge difference to the moms and dads working multiple jobs, trying to put fruits and vegetables on the table for their kids. It helps seniors on a budget make sure they have enough nutritious food in their diet to stay healthy,” Krauss said. “We know there is high demand in many communities across the country. Fair Food Network is leading efforts to urge Congress to strengthen and improve GusNIP in the Farm Bill, so that it can meet the need here in Michigan and all across the country.”
GusNIP supports 111 active nutrition incentive and produce prescription projects nationwide—improving healthy food access and consumption for people with low income. Fair Food Network is leading advocacy efforts to support increased federal funding, among other improvements, for GusNIP in the 2023 farm bill to ensure the program can help more states and communities across the country.
Contact: Andi Nank, email@example.com, 734. 213.3999 x221
About Fair Food Network
Fair Food Network is a national nonprofit and investor that grows community health and wealth through food. We transform how resources flow through the food economy for a more fair and resilient future. Our approach integrates policy advocacy that brings proven solutions to scale, partnerships that increase our collective impact, and investments in food organizations and businesses that serve their communities. We’re building a world in which everyone has access to healthy choices, economic opportunity, and a resilient environment. We believe that when we start with food, everything else is possible.