By Aryn McLaren on Thursday, May 11, 2017
Bringing benefits to Iowa families, farmers, and local economies
May 10, 2017 | Des Moines, Iowa – The West Des Moines Valley Junction Farmers Market is pleased to be a part of the Double Up Food Bucks program, a healthy food incentive program that helps low-income families eat more healthy food and supports local farmers. A program of Iowa Healthiest State Initiative, Double Up matches the value of federal nutrition benefits spent at participating farmers’ markets, helping people bring home more healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables.
“We are excited to see Double Up Food Bucks expanding to the Valley Junction Farmer’s Market. With over 100 vendors, the market provides a great variety of products for everyone looking to buy local, including our Double Up families,” said Aubrey Alvarez, Executive Director of Eat Greater Des Moines.
Here’s how Double Up works: Double Up matches the value of SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) purchases made at participating sites 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 Double Up Food Bucks to purchase Iowa grown fruits and vegetables.
The wins are three-fold: low-income families eat more healthy food, local farmers gain new customers and make more money, and more food dollars stay in the local economy. Each has a ripple effect of benefits.
“We’re excited to be a part of a program that helps low-income families stretch their food dollars,” said Katie Funk, Events Manager at the Historic Valley Junction Foundation. “The Valley Junction Farmer’s Market is a family-friendly place where people connect with the farmers who grow their food, try new foods and learn new cooking techniques, and set lifelong habits of eating and loving fresh fruits and vegetables.”
Double Up Food Bucks began in six Iowa farmers markets in 2016 and is now active at 13 sites including farmers markets, farm stands, and mobile markets across Iowa. In 2016, the program reached 1,000 SNAP recipients resulting in more than $25,000 worth of fresh fruits and vegetables purchased from Iowa family famers. From 2016 program evaluation, 94 percent of SNAP shoppers reported eating more fruits and vegetables and 74 percent of farmers reported making more money because of Double Up.
The 2017 Iowa Double Up Food Bucks program is funded through a statewide financial contribution from United Healthcare as well as the regional support of local partners such as United Way of Central Iowa and Eat Greater Des Moines.
Market day at the Historic Valley Junction Farmers Market is Thursday; hours are 4pm-7pm. For a complete list of participating Double Up markets and hours of operation, visit www.iowahealthieststate.com/double-up-food-bucks
About Double Up Food Bucks: Learn more about Double Up Food Bucks at ww.iowahealthieststate.com/double-up-food-bucks featuring a complete list of participating markets, a infographic showing how it works, and more. You can also call us at 515-309-3227 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The Healthiest State Initiative: It is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization driven by the goal to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation. By engaging worksites, communities, schools, retail food, organizations, institutions and individuals, we can inspire Iowans and their communities to improve their health and happiness, and ultimately achieve our goal. For more information, visit www.iowahealthieststate.com.
Eat Greater Des Moines, a nonprofit organization, works to provide access to healthy food for all Iowans. Our mission is to identify, develop, and connect resources with the broader community to support the entire food lifecycle in central Iowa. We partner with food resources within the metro to improve the production, development, distribution, access and waste management of food products in central Iowa.
We are Historic Valley Junction – home to over 150 specialty shops, restaurants, and services and the single largest collection of independent businesses in Greater Des Moines. We are convenient to all of the metro area yet we are a world apart. Great things come together at Valley Junction.