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Double Up Food Bucks

How Advocates Can Help Grow a Healthy, Sustainable Food System

By Oran B. Hesterman

Many recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits live in areas where little healthy food is available and are thus more susceptible to illness and death from diet-related disease. Farmers’ markets, many of which now accept SNAP benefits, offer healthy, local food, but few SNAP beneficiaries patronize farmers’ markets due to lack of familiarity or higher prices. Double Up Food Bucks, a Michigan project organized by Fair Food Network, encourages farmers’ market shopping by doubling the value of $20 in SNAP benefits; the project has increased purchases at farmers’ markets with SNAP benefits. A provision of the 2012 Farm Bill offers incentives to expand the program nationally.

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