USDA award recognizes success of Fair Food Network’s farmers market incentive program

In recognition of Fair Food Network’s (FFN) successful Double Up Food Bucks program at Michigan farmers markets, U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Administrator Audrey Rowe visited FFN in Ann Arbor on April 3 to present the W.K. Kellogg Foundation grantee with a USDA Certificate of Appreciation for its efforts in supporting farmers markets and ensuring access to fresh, healthy and local food.

Double Up Food Bucks is an incentive program that doubles the value of SNAP dollars (previously called food stamps) when consumers use them to buy fresh produce at Michigan farmers markets. 

“All of us at Fair Food Network are pleased and proud to receive this recognition from the USDA,” said Oran Hesterman, president and CEO, Fair Food Network. “I know that the success of the Double Up Food Bucks program in Michigan is due to the tremendous support we receive – from generous funders, farmers market managers and the farmers who actually put the program into practice. It is simply an idea whose time has come.”

Double Up Food Bucks has proven a win-win for both low-income and farming families in Michigan by increasing access to healthy food and profits for those who market it. SNAP sales at Michigan farmers markets grew from $16,000 in 2007 to $1.1 million in 2011, stimulated in large part by the impact of the Double Up Food Bucks program.  At $1.1 million, Michigan led the Midwest in SNAP sales, followed by Ohio at just over $167,000 and Wisconsin at $77,000.  

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