W.K. Kellogg Foundation provides $1.2 million for Double Up Food Bucks program

"Double Up Food Bucks" scales up Foundation’s initial investment in pioneering idea.

Feb 9, 2011

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – The W.K. Kellogg Foundation today announced $1.2 million in funding to provide low-income people in Michigan with improved access to healthy, fresh food by doubling the value of federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits used at farmers’ markets.

The foundation pioneered the approach to promoting healthy eating with initial funding in 2004, and it has since been piloted at individual markets in several states.

"Low-income communities have less access to fresh, healthy foods," said Oran Hesterman, president and CEO of Fair Food Network, which operates the Double Up Food Bucks program. "Double Up Food Bucks provides an incentive to use SNAP benefits at markets filled with fresh food rather than stores with few healthy choices. This not only stretches residents’ food dollars, it keeps those food dollars in the local community, supporting local farmers.

With Double Up Food Bucks, shoppers use SNAP benefit cards to purchase fresh foods at farmers’ markets. For every $2 spent, they receive $2 in bonus tokens, up to $20 in tokens per visit. Those tokens can then be used to buy more fresh locally grown foods at the market.

Double Up Food Bucks is serving residents in Battle Creek, Detroit, Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor and anticipates serving residents in Flint, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Saginaw and Traverse City. In the counties to which these cities belong, an average of 17 percent of residents receive SNAP benefits, and 30 percent of children receive food assistance*.

The program will later be available throughout Michigan, where the number of residents receiving SNAP benefits has risen 50 percent** in the past two years. This marks the first-ever statewide launch of a program to match SNAP benefits, often referred to as food stamps.

Initial Double Up Food Bucks implementation has already proved successful. From August to October 2010, $111,585 in SNAP benefits were used at 15 participating farmers’ markets in Michigan and Ohio. These SNAP dollars were matched by $91,866 in Food Bucks tokens to buy fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables. All told, $203,451 worth of healthful produce went to low-income families—and those dollars flowed directly to small farmers and their rural communities.

"Access to fresh food is a critical issue in our nation’s fight to reduce alarming rates of obesity, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure and other diet-related diseases," said Sterling K. Speirn, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. "We have been encouraged by the success of the benefits-doubling programs that have operated since the Kellogg Foundation’s initial investment in the idea. We’re especially thrilled to have Michigan, our home state and a priority place for our funding efforts, benefit from the statewide rollout."

The grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation is being matched with grants from Open Society Foundations in New York and a number of other sources, including: Americana Foundation, Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, Bank of America, Battle Creek Community Foundation, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Jewish Fund, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Osprey Foundation, Ruth Mott Foundation, Slemons Foundation, Toledo Community Foundation, the United Way, University of Toledo, Wholesome Wave, and Woodcock Foundation. Additional support has been received from Michigan Department of Human Services, USDA Rural Development, USDA Farm Services Agency, and USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by way of Michigan Department of Human Services and the Michigan Nutrition Network at the Michigan Fitness Foundation.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and its Food & Community Program
For more than 80 years, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation has used its voice to advocate for equitable access to good food and physical activity. Since the mid-1990s, the foundation has directed more than $230 million toward supporting healthy food and farming projects. The Food & Community Program builds on the foundation’s long-term investments to improve food systems and the lives of vulnerable children. The Kellogg Foundation is also a founding member of the Partnership for a Healthier America, a foundation that supports First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative with the goal of curbing childhood obesity within a generation.

Established in 1930, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation supports children, families and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society. Grants are concentrated in the United States, southern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Food & Community Program
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About Fair Food Network
Fair Food Network is a national nonprofit dedicated to building a more just and sustainable food system. We work at the intersection of food systems, sustainability, and social equity to guarantee access to healthy, fresh and sustainably grown food, especially in underserved communities. We implement model programs and bring the right people together to generate ideas, share resources, and promote policy changes to repair our food system.

Fair Food Network
Double Up Food Bucks
Follow Fair Food Network on Twitter @FairFoodNetwork
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Rebecca Noricks, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Rachel Chadderdon, Fair Food Network

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*Source: Michigan Department of Human Services
**Source: Food Assistance Program Trend Information (Michigan DHS)