Bizimana Charles of Eating Well Farm, pictured at the LSI Global Greens Farmers Market in Des Moines.
Double Up Food Bucks is 'invaluable' to rural communities, farmers say
How can Iowa improve access to affordable, healthy food for low-income Iowa consumers while also supporting Iowa family farmers and rural communities?
One solution: Double Up Food Bucks.
“Double Up Food Bucks is a critical program that allows food-insecure Iowans to stretch their grocery budgets and eat healthier food,” said Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. “In doing so, it also strengthens local economies and supports Iowa fruit and vegetable growers.”
The SNAP-incentive program connects farmers with local consumers to help solve the challenges rural Iowa communities face including higher rates of poverty, obesity, supermarket scarcity and food insecurity. The program also helps farmers build their customer base, increase their sales and close the healthy food access gap for their fellow Iowans.
DOUBLE UP FOOD BUCKS: How it works | Find a location
Here's why farmers value the Double Up Food Bucks program:
Expanded customer base
"We saw more customers that probably wouldn't have been able to afford to come to market to purchase extra food for their families or themselves. It brought more people out and we had return customers." — Kathy Salow, Kirkwood's SunCountry Produce in Hopkinton
"It helps bring more customers to the market. Double Up Food Bucks makes our market a good destination for many from the African community, and Iowa has many people from Africa, especially in Des Moines. " — Simon Bucumi, vendor at LSI Global Greens Farmers Market in Des Moines
Increased sales + income
"Before, my customers wouldn’t buy green peppers or onions because they think they are too expensive, now they will buy them. So I can sell more. With Double Up Food Bucks, it's easier for vendors to sell and easier for customers to buy." — Bizimana Charles, Eating Well Farm in Altoona
"Double Up Food Bucks (does) make up a significant portion of our sales, which means that many of our regulars are people who otherwise wouldn't have access to the healthy food we grow." — Adrian White, Jupiter Ridge Farm in Garber
Access to healthy food for all Iowans
"The Double Up Food Bucks program is invaluable to our community. Nearly 40% of families in our area struggle to meet basic needs from month to month. Often food pantries do not have local produce available. The Double Up program (builds) equity into our food system through increased access to local, fresh food." — Molly Schintler, Echollective Farm LLC in Mechanicsville
"Encouraging healthy eating is so important for social, educational and community health. Not just personal physical health." — Ann Brau, Compass Plant CSA in Grinnell
Double Up Food Bucks is a SNAP-incentive program in Iowa that matches food assistance dollars 1:1 on purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets and grocery stores. Learn more and find a participating location near you: DoubleUpIowa.org