By: Margaret Lapp, Field & Fork Network
Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) is a SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—formerly known as food stamps) nutrition incentive program currently delivered at local farmers’ markets (seasonal and year-round) and mobile markets. Field & Fork Network (FFN) is a non-profit organization, serving Western New York, whose mission is to build capacity for a thriving regional food system. FFN’s signature program, DUFB, redirects federal food assistance dollars, and is delivered at local farmers’ markets and mobile markets as a means to:
The Double Up Food Bucks nutrition incentive, which can only be used to purchase fresh, locally grown produce, increases the SNAP customers’ purchasing power, making these eligible items more affordable. In 2016, approximately 20% of individuals and 19% of households in the region we serve received SNAP benefits, according to NYS Office of Temporary Disability Assistance. The DUFB program has grown rapidly since its 2014 pilot season where DUFB was administered at 7 market sites and expanded to include 15 farmers’ markets in 2015. In 2016, DUFB expanded, in partnership with Curbside Market (Foodlink’s mobile market program) to Rochester, NY and now includes over 90 unique participating sites.
Farmers markets are a key component in developing a sustainable and equitable food system, as are retail sites. In 2016, Field & Fork Network was awarded a Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program grant from the USDA and the National Institute of Food & Agriculture. This grant has provided resources to increase the purchase and consumption of fruits and vegetables among SNAP recipients by providing the nutrition incentive at 4 unique food access points – seasonal farmers markets, year-round farmers markets, mobile markets, and healthy corner stores. The following goals shape the ongoing FINI project:
Among the top 50 metropolitan areas in the country, the Buffalo Niagara region ranked in the top 10 for the size of growth in the percentage of local households receiving food stamps over the course of 2013, according to the Buffalo News. The trend continued in NYS in 2015; approximately 3 million individuals participated in the SNAP program on a monthly basis. Increased access and affordability to fresh produce is pivotal in improving health outcomes for the WNY region. DUFB offers an intervention for food insecure communities, as illustrated in the growing demand for the program. In the future, DUFB is expected to increase its footprint through expansion into both retail and grocery outlets in Western and Central New York.
Please visit our website to learn more: doubleupnys.com