More Greens For Your “Green”
Fair Food Network launches "Double Up Food Bucks" to encourage healthier eating and provide greater access to fresh produce for low-income families
Michigan Growers and Detroit Farmers’ Markets Also Benefit from New Program
DETROIT, MI, August 9, 2010 — In an effort to encourage healthier eating and provide more access to fresh fruits and vegetables among low-income Michigan families, the Fair Food Network today announced a new program called “Double Up Food Bucks” which will go into effect this Saturday, August 14. People who use Bridge Cards to receive food assistance benefits – approximately 495,000 in Wayne County alone – are now eligible to receive more fresh Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables at five participating Detroit farmers’ markets.
When Bridge Card holders shop at Detroit Eastern Market, Northwest Detroit Farmers’ Market, East Warren Avenue Farmers’ Market, Peaches & Greens Store and Mobile Food Truck or Wayne State University Farmers’ Markets, the amount of money they spend using their Bridge Card is matched dollar-for-dollar with Double Up Food Bucks bonus tokens, which can be used to buy fresh Michigan-grown produce. Eligible consumers may receive up to $20 in tokens each time they shop at participating farmers’ markets August through October. The bottom line: Consumers get twice as much food and family grocery budgets are stretched in a healthy direction.
Bridge Card holders are not the only ones who will benefit from Double Up Food Bucks: Michigan farmers will see new sales opportunities as the demand for their products increases.
“Double Up Food Bucks will create the kind of market southeast Michigan needs now more than ever – more healthy fruits and vegetables for low-income families, and more revenue for local famers in a sustainable, dependable way,” said Dr. Oran Hesterman, president and CEO, Fair Food Network. “We are connecting small and midsize farms in southeast Michigan with a growing demand and strong need for healthy, fresh, locally grown food in urban areas.”
A test program for Double Up Food Bucks was implemented in Detroit in Fall 2009. It proved that even a small incentive results in major change in the buying and eating habits of urban low-income families. Bridge card sales at Detroit Eastern Market reached record levels during the pilot program and remained high even after the incentive ended. Based on the success of the pilot, the Fair Food Network made the decision to launch a larger scale program with a multi-level communications campaign to promote it.
“Double Up Food Bucks is the prototype for public-private partnerships that support Michigan’s economy and serve vulnerable citizens,” said Ismael Ahmed, Director, Michigan Department of Human Services. “This program is long overdue and we applaud the Fair Food Network on this new initiative.”
Double Up Food Bucks is supported through generous donations from the Open Society Foundations in New York, Wholesome Wave Foundation in Connecticut, and the following Michigan-based foundations and corporations: Americana Foundation, Bank of America, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Erb Family Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Osprey Foundation, United Way, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Woodcock Foundation. Additional support was received from Michigan Department of Human Services and USDA Rural Development.
For more information about Double Up Food Bucks, call (313) 309-0521 or visit www.DoubleUpFoodBucks.org.
For information about obtaining a Bridge Card, call 1-888-MiBridg (1-888-642-7434) or visit www.mibridges.michigan.gov.
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About the Fair Food Network
Fair Food Network (FFN) is a national nonprofit dedicated to building a more just and sustainable food system. FFN works at the intersection of food systems and social equity to guarantee access to healthy, fresh and sustainably grown food, especially in underserved communities. FFN implements model programs and brings the right people together to generate ideas, share resources and promote policy changes to repair our food system.