Des Moines, Iowa (June 28, 2016) - Affordable, healthy food is now easier to buy for Iowans who receive food assistance thanks to a coordinated effort by six dedicated farmer’s markets and the Healthiest State Initiative. Beginning July 1 – this Friday – each of the six participating markets will accept and pilot Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB), an incentive program sponsored by World Food Prize and other local-level sponsors. The program matches the value of federal nutrition benefits spent at participating farmer’s markets, helping people bring home healthier, locally grown fruits and vegetables.
The six markets associated with this program include:
· Dubuque Farmer’s Market
· Iowa City Farmer’s Markets
· Lutheran Services Iowa Global Greens Farmer’s Market (Des Moines)
· Northeast Iowa Winneshiek Farmer’s Market (Decorah)
· Perry Farmer’s Market
· Spencer Riverfront Farmer’s Market
Here’s how Double Up Food Bucks works: DUFB matches the value of SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) purchases made at participating markets with additional dollars to spend on fresh, locally grown produce. For instance, a family that spends $10 in SNAP benefits at a participating farmers market receives an additional $10 in DUFB to purchase Iowa-grown fruits and vegetables.
The wins are three-fold: low-income families eat healthier food, local farmers gain new customers and sell more fruits and vegetables, and food dollars stay in the local economy. Each has a ripple effect of benefits.
Originating in Michigan in 2009, the DUFB program has grown across the U.S. and is being piloted in Iowa with the goal to expand in the future.
Consumer data collected annually at DUFB markets throughout the U.S. has indicated that shoppers feel like the program has improved their diets. In 2014, an overwhelming majority of written survey responses (90%, n= 201) indicated customers were eating more fruits and vegetables because of the incentives, and 68% responded because of the program they were eating fewer potato chips, candy and cookies.
“According to the 2015 Gallop-Healthways Well-Being Index, Iowa ranks 50th in the nation in fruit and vegetable consumption – an important aspect of well-being,” says Aryn McLaren, Director of Programs at the Healthiest State Initiative. “When we learned about the success of the program in Michigan we jumped at the chance to bring the DUFB model to Iowa. We want to make the healthy choice the easy choice for Iowans, and increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables is a great place to start.”
To learn more about the Double Up Food Bucks program please visit http://www.doubleupfoodbucks.org.
The Healthiest State Initiative is a privately led, public effort that engages Iowans and their communities throughout the state. It involves individuals, families, businesses, faith-based organizations, not-for-profits and the public sector in a broad-based, community-focused effort. For more information, visit www.iowahealthieststate.com.