Friday, April 15, 2016

Double-Up Food Bucks Program Back in 2016

When the Legislative Finance Committee was considering funding for various programs in this budget-challenged year, members proposed to cut funding for the Double Up Food Bucks program to $100,000 for 2016, one-fourth of what was allocated in 2015. Under the program, participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) have the chance to stretch out their food-stamp benefits when shopping for fruits and vegetables at farmers' markets throughout the state.

The severe cut proposed by the LFC would have severely hampered the Double Up Food Bucks program, which not only helps SNAP recipients but also small farmers around the state. So, the New Mexico Farmers Market Association (NMFMA) and the New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council moved into action and managed to convince the State Legislature to allocate $390,000 for the program. That means that the reduction in funding was only $10,000 and not $300,000! (Read summary of food and nutrition issues addressed in the 2016 Legislature)

Here's how the program works:Get more fruits and vegetables when you spend your SNAP EBT Card dollars at participating farmers’ markets. It’s easy with Double Up Food Bucks! For example, if you spend $10 from your SNAP EBT Card at a participating farmers market, we give you another $10 to buy fresh fruits and veggies grown in New Mexico. If you spend $26 from your SNAP EBT Card, we give you another $26 for fresh New Mexico-grown fruits and vegetables. It’s that easy! Some farmers’ markets may have a limit for daily Double Up purchases, others may not. Check with the folks at your local farmers’ market information table to find out!

Now that the farmers market season is around the corner, the Double Up Food Bucks will also be at each of the sites around the state. To learn more about the plans for 2016, we invite you to the next meeting of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition on Tuesday, April 19. Our guest speaker is Lucy McDermott, an Albuquerque-based program specialist for the NMFMA. Here are details of the meeting.

Tuesday, April 19,
First Presbyterian Church
(I-25 and Martin Luther King Blvd.)

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