In her ongoing bid to get a healthier percentage of fruits and vegetables onto the tables of Michigan families while also helping the Michigan agricultural community, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow has announced today a new $12.5-million boost in federal funding to expand the Double Up Food Bucks program in Michigan.
Stabenow, the Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, says the grant was funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program, which she expanded and made permanent in the 2018 Farm Bill.
The U.S. Senator from Michigan says, “Double Up Food Bucks helps families in Michigan purchase more fruits and vegetables while supporting Michigan’s farmers,” and adds, “This new support will help the Fair Food Network connect families in every county in Michigan with affordable, healthy food.”
Michigan’s Double Up Food Bucks program is a project of the Fair Food Network that doubles the value of food assistance dollars spent on locally grown produce at farmers markets and grocery stores. Modeling the success of Double Up Bucks, Senator Stabenow created a nutrition incentives program in the 2014 Farm Bill to fund similar projects all across the country. In the 2018 Farm Bill, she expanded access to healthy food by securing permanent funding for the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program, which will make fruits and vegetables more accessible and affordable for families for years to come.
Oran Hesterman is Founder and CEO of Fair Food Network. He says, “Within a decade, nutrition incentives have grown from a handful of pilots to a permanent part of the Farm Bill with programs in all 50 states.” His network pioneered the Double Up Food Bucks program that is now in 27 states. Hesterman adds, “Senator Stabenow has been a steadfast champion of nutrition incentives since day one having seen first-hand their benefits for families, farmers, and local economies.”
Fair Food Network will use the new funds to expand the Double Up Food Bucks program to more farmers markets and grocery stores throughout Michigan. The project will more than double participation in the Double Up program from 13-percent to 30-percent of SNAP households by 2023 and expand it to every county in the state.
As national leaders in healthy food access, Fair Food Network has been selected as a partner in establishing the new Center for Nutrition Incentive Program Training, Technical Assistance, Evaluation and Reporting, which will provide training resources for incentive programs across the country.