By Matt Miner // Capitol Strategies Group
MICHIGAN – The Double Up Food Bucks program that allows people to use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program at grocery stores and farmers markets received $4 million between the current and upcoming fiscal year in the budget that passed the Legislature last week.
The program, currently funded at $900,000, received another $2 million for the 2022-23 fiscal year. It also received $2 million for the 2023-24 fiscal year.
Double Up Food Bucks matches Michigan-grown produce purchases for residents using SNAP dollar for dollar, up to $10 a day.
“Double Up Food Bucks is working across the state to help children, families, and seniors use their SNAP benefits to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables,” Kate Krauss, CEO at Fair Food Network, said in a statement. “We are grateful for this support from the Michigan Legislature to help us continue to bring this essential community resource to Michigan in its current footprint – allowing families to bring home more healthy food, putting more dollars into the pockets of local farmers, and boosting local economies.”
The program was first piloted by Fair Food Network in Detroit in 2009 and it has since become a national model for nutrition incentive programs. Organizers boast it is a “triple win,” leading to more healthy food for families, better business for farmers and a boost for local economies.
“The city of Flint and recently impacted communities across Michigan will not see an interruption in Double Up Food Bucks this year,” Sen. John Cherry(D-Flint) said. “This private and public partnership ensures we are able to access USDA nutrition incentives to bring home more Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables.”
The program is now offered in more than 250 locations across Michigan. From 2019 to 2022, the program increased by 212 percent, helping families stretch their monthly food budget and afford more fruits and vegetables during a time with record rates of inflation on grocery items.
Additionally, Fair Food Network said of farmers who participated in Double Up, 90 percent sold more fruits and vegetables, and 85 percent made more money. With greater sales, some farmers have been able to expand their production and even buy or lease new equipment.
Participating grocery stores are required to maintain 20 percent Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables in their store during peak growing season in order to maintain their eligibility.
“Michigan families and farmers will be able to count on access to more Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables thanks to the bipartisan support for Double Up Food Bucks,” Rep. Julie Brixie (D-Okemos) said.