A vendor at the Decorah Farmers Market proudly displays a Double Up Food Bucks sign in July 2021.
2.7 million servings of produce in 2021
Farmers markets see 160+% increase during record-breaking year
Double Up Food Bucks saw record participation last year: $2,240,972 in Double Up Food Bucks were redeemed for fresh produce totaling approximately 2,716,329 servings of fruits and vegetables. More than 160,000 Iowans, or more than 84,000 families, utilized the program in 2021 which is the most since the program launched in 2016.
Double Up Food Bucks allows SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) customers to match purchases made with their EBT card, up to $10 per day, with Double Up Food Bucks which can be spent on fresh produce.
“The success of Double Up Food Bucks demonstrates that Iowans utilizing food assistance are hungry for greater access to healthy foods,” said Jami Haberl, executive director of the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative. “We know that food insecurity is related to higher rates of chronic disease and a diet rich with fruits and vegetables helps to combat this issue.”
RELATED: How Double Up Food Bucks fights food insecurity
The Double Up Food Bucks program, administered by the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative, was available in 2021 at 142 participating locations, including all 106 Fareway grocery stores statewide, six food co-ops and 30 farmers markets across the state.
Redemption at farmers markets also saw a significant increase over previous years: In 2020, $152,645 in Double Up Food Bucks were redeemed at Iowa farmers markets. In 2021, that number rose to $398,458, directly benefiting local produce growers.
TRIPLE WIN: See how Double Up Food Bucks helps farmers
“Double Up Food Bucks helps the specialty crop farmers in our state grow their customer base and increase their sales which is critical to expand their business,” said Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. “It also allows more customers to have access to locally-grown produce.”
Now that the COVID relief funds have been expended, the Double Up Food Bucks program has been scaled back for 2022. In 2022, the program is available at 90 total locations, including select Fareway and Hy-Vee grocery stores, food co-ops and farmers markets.
MAP: Find a Double Up Food Bucks location near you
The Healthiest State Initiative is seeking a direct state appropriation to re-fund the program at a statewide level and to leverage more federal funding. To learn how you can advocate and request funding for Double Up Food Bucks in your community, click here.
How Double Up Food Bucks works: A customer who spends $10 in SNAP benefits at a participating site receives an additional $10 in free Double Up Food Bucks to spend on locally grown fruits and vegetables. The program provides a 1:1 match, up to $10 per day. Learn more about how the program works in the farmers market and retail grocery settings here.
How Double Up Food Bucks is funded: Double Up Food Bucks receives a two-year match grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The grant is matched with private contributions. Double Up Food Bucks is sponsored statewide by Amerigroup, Alliant Energy, Bank of America, Black Hawk County Gaming Association, Fair Food Network, Farmers Mutual Hail, Iowa Total Care, The Nelson Foundation and Polk County, as well as the regional support of local partners.