Federal officials meet Iowa mom who uses Double Up Food Bucks
Cherie Friesth's 3-year-old son, Hunter, loves fruits and vegetables. He prefers them to other sugary, processed snacks.
"We want to ensure that healthy eating is a priority for our family," said Cherie. But she is disabled and not working, "which means our budget is really tight."
In May, Cherie started using the Double Up Food Bucks and Hunter has been able to keep eating his favorite healthy snacks — strawberries and carrots.
Representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service were in Iowa City Wednesday to meet with Cherie and see how the Double Up Food Bucks program is helping low-income Iowans and supporting local farmers.
"It has allowed us to expand our food purchase budget," Cherie said. "Being able to get organic produce is very important to our family and this helps to make that possible."
With Double Up Food Bucks, a program led by the Healthiest State Initiative, SNAP recipients can use their EBT cards at a participating farmers market and receive a matching number of Double Up Food Bucks (up to $10 per day) to spend on locally-grown, fresh produce.
DOUBLE UP FOOD BUCKS: Find a participating farmers market near you | How does it work?
Cherie and her family have earned and spent their Double Up Food Bucks at the Iowa City Farmers Market and at New Pioneer Food Co-op stores. New Pioneer is the first grocery store in Iowa to participate in the Double Up Food Bucks program.
The USDA officials toured the farmers market and New Pioneer's downtown Iowa City location to see the Double Up Food Bucks program in action and learn more about local food systems in Iowa.
The Double Up Food Bucks program is partially funded through the USDA and is based on a national model for healthy food incentives active in more than 20 states.
HOW DOUBLE UP FOOD BUCKS WORKS AT THE MARKET:
HOW DOUBLE UP FOOD BUCKS WORKS AT NEW PIONEER CO-OP: