Gov. Kim Reynolds and our Director of Programs, Aryn McLaren, recently spoke on and highlighted our program Double Up Food Bucks – an incentive program that's making it easier for low-income Iowans to eat fresh fruits and vegetables while supporting family farmers and growing local economies.
“In 2011 we announced a privately led, publically endorsed, initiative called the Healthiest State.” said Reynolds. “Healthiest State is really rooted in our belief that Iowan’s must take ownership in their health and healthcare decisions to truly become more healthier.”
The program, with 13 sites across the state of Iowa, is continuing to expand in efforts to increase access and support for Iowan’s in-need to healthier produce. There are six participating locations in Polk County, in addition to sites in Johnson, Black Hawk, Clay, Tama, Dubuque, Poweshiek and Winneshiek counties.
Iowans who receive SNAP benefits can use their EBT cards at the market, and receive a matching number of Double Up Food Bucks (up to $10 per day). They may use the SNAP benefits to buy any SNAP-eligible items at the market, and use the Double Up Food Bucks for any locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables.
Currently, Iowa ranks 50th in the country in fruit and vegetable consumption and over 380,000 Iowan’s rely on federal food assistance.
This statewide healthy food incentive program is just one of the many ongoing efforts to help reach our goal in making Iowa the healthiest state in the nation.
“We’ve made significant progress in our healthiest state goal ranking 14th nationally, our score has improved twice the national average - but of course we’re not done yet. We want to be #1 in the country,” said Reynolds.
And while the program continues to grow, so does the objectives.
“In 2017 were aiming to reach 5,000 low-income families, resulting in $100,000 of fresh healthy foods being taken home. Those dollars will directly impact 300 local farmers,” said McLaren. “That’s truly a win-win situation for Iowa.”