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Applications are accepted on a rolling basis
The Iowa Healthiest State Initiative will accept applications from farmers markets, farm stands and/or CSA’s , with priority on rural and isolated communities, who currently do not have the incentive program, Double Up Food Bucks, in operation. Through an application process, the selected locations will receive technical assistance and financial support from the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative to increase the market’s sales of fresh fruits and vegetables through the following tactics; implementation of the Double Up Food Bucks program, increasing capacity of the market through a $1500 grant, implementation and sustainability planning for the market and incentive program, and digital marketing support and strategies to engage new customers that may be interested in purchasing specialty crops at the farmers market or farm stand locations.
To help ensure that customers from all economic backgrounds can afford to shop at their local market, many market operators are taking advantage of federal nutrition assistance programs that help customers purchase healthy, fresh food. These programs include the Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) for Women Infant and Children (WIC) and Seniors (SFMNP), as well as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. By accepting alternative forms of payment—including SNAP, WIC FMNP and SFMNP coupons—farmers markets are creating welcoming environments where everyone, regardless of budget constraints, can feel welcome and shop. SNAP not only allows low-income families greater access to fresh nutritional foods, but also increases farmer/vendor revenue.
Currently in Iowa there are 2 ways of offering SNAP as a form of payment in the farmers market setting: the Central POS System and the Individual POS System.
The Central POS System that uses script (i.e. tokens) enables a farmers market to have one SNAP authorization from the USDA (FNS permit) and to operate a central point of sale (POS) terminal for all participating vendors. Customers redeeming SNAP benefits swipe their EBT card at a central location at the market and receive tokens or paper scrip which they spend like cash for eligible food at the market. Payment is electronically transferred directly into the market bank account. Market management distributes payments to vendors and assumes responsibility for accounting and reporting requirements.
The Individual POS System allows individual farmers/vendors to manage their own SNAP redemption by obtaining their own FNS permit; purchase/lease their own POS terminal; and independently accept SNAP benefits at their stalls. In this system, a customer swipes his/her card at the vendor stall and the sale is completed without the need for tokens or scrip. Payments are directly deposited in the vendor bank account and there is a very limited reporting requirement.
For the purpose of this Capacity Building Grant opportunity, capacity building is defined as: initiatives that are designed to strengthen a farmers’ markets, farm stand or CSA’s ability to enhance the sale of specialty crops in their community. Capacity building is an investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of the farmers market, farm stand or CSA. (Examples: communications , financial management, staffing, technology, equipment)
Thank you for completing the 2022 Iowa Healthiest State Initiative Specialty Crop Promotion and Capacity Building Grant application. After you submit your application, a confirmation email will be sent to the primary contacts provided in the application.
If you have questions or concerns regarding the application please reach out to Aryn McLaren, Director of Healthy Incentives.
Iowa Double Up Food Bucks Grocery Application
Double Up Food Bucks Local Produce Procurement Reporting
Find a Double Up Food Bucks location - available at grocery stores and farmers markets - near you.