Friday, June 30, 2017

Doubling Up SNAP Benefits to Buy Produce

 “When the end of July comes around, we’ll have boxes of green chile and all the local produce. Double Up Food Bucks is running all year, but come in now." -Josh Cunningham, marketing director for Cid’s Food Market in Taos (in an interview with The Taos News, July 2016)
It's almost July, and the crowds are growing at farmers markets around New Mexico. This is the time of year when the options of produce are more limited. Corn, tomatoes and most chiles are not yet available. Wait a couple of weeks. However,  farmers have plenty of melons, cucumbers, salad greens.

"This is the season when New Mexico-grown food hits its stride. And that means there are more opportunities for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) shoppers to double the amount of New Mexico-grown produce they can purchase," says the New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association (NMFMA).

Double Up Food Bucks is the SNAP incentive program that helps low-income families bring home more healthy food, support area farmers, and stimulate local economies. The NMFMA administers the program across the state for EBT shoppers at more than 80 locations including farmers' markets, farm stands, mobile markets, and select grocery stores.

Benefits since 2010
According to the NMFMA, the New Mexico’s farmers’ market EBT incentive program began in 2010 at 17 farmers’ markets with a federal stimulus funding provided by the New Mexico Human Services Department.

Several markets carried the program forward in the years that followed. In 2015, the New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association received both federal and state funding to expand the program to more than 30 New Mexico farmers’ markets, and has partnered with the Fair Food Network to introduce the Double Up Food Bucks program.

In 2016, the program expanded to include select grocery stores as a pilot program, and farm stands, mobile markets, and CSAs. This expansion in addition to an increased number of participating farmers’ markets in the state allowed the program to include almost 70 outlets statewide in 2016.

"Double Up has been at the forefront of innovations in healthy food incentives, and the NMFMA is proud to partner with the Fair Food Network implementing the Double Up model," said farmers marketing association.

"The program’s uniform design, central administration, and local implementation have proven to be successful in rural and urban communities alike. The program is rooted in partnerships—both with local partners and key statewide efforts," added NMFMA.

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