The Niagara Falls City Market is thrilled to announce the upcoming season, set to be its most vibrant and eventful yet. With an array of new vendors, engaging special events, extended operating hours, heightened safety protocols, and an abundance of locally sourced produce, the market aims to provide an experience for visitors and residents alike.Continue reading
Funding helps combat food insecurity, supports New York farmers, and local economies
Assemblyman Demond Meeks and Assemblyman Harry Bronson joins Field & Fork Network and Foodlink to announce its inclusion in the New York State Budget. Double Up Food Bucks NY received bipartisan support for the $2 million allocation for the second consecutive year; the funding will allow the statewide nutrition incentive program to expand services to approximately 100,000 additional SNAP shoppers and the opportunity to leverage an additional $2 million in Federal funding, going directly to NY farmers, small businesses, and local economies.
Double Up Food Bucks NY (DUFBNY) is a national nutrition incentive program operated by the Field & Fork Network, that matches SNAP eligible purchases $1 for $1, up to $20 per day, to purchase local fruits and vegetables. Its benefits are three-fold: a win for New York farmers selling more produce; a win for low-income families putting more healthy food on their tables; and a win for local businesses and economies. Since 2014, DUFB NY has served 110,000+ SNAP shoppers, across 30 counties, generating over $10.1 million in healthy food sales.
As inflation and food costs continue to rise, 1 in 10 New York families struggle to put food on the table, Double Up makes healthy food choices within reach. Double Up is a proven, innovative model that simultaneously delivers health and economic benefits. Double Up addresses major food insecurity challenges, like access and affordability, by partnering with stores and markets in areas of high need, to give people the power to choose their own foods and avoid having to rely on food pantries to feed their families.
“We’re thankful for Assemblyman Meeks and Assemblyman Bronson’s support and lucky to have lawmakers who champion innovative ways to make a real difference for people in their districts,” said Lisa French, Executive Director of Field & Fork Network.
“Local and organic food options are an important resource for preventing food insecurity amongst vulnerable members of our community. It is essential that those in need of support have access to affordable options for healthy and nutritious food in their neighborhoods. These investments will ensure that we provide for our low-income residents while also delivering direct support to small businesses, farmers, and the local economy. I am glad that we were successful in securing funding for this important benefit to thousands of New Yorkers. I want to thank the Field & Fork Network and my state colleagues for demonstrating their support for underserved communities, together we are making a difference throughout New York State,” says Assemblymember Demond Meeks.
“Ensuring that families, especially those with young children, have access to healthy, fresh food is imperative. We are a country of abundance and there is no reason anyone should be hungry. Food insecurity affects academic and work success, mental and physical health, and overall quality of life. With this knowledge in mind, we must do all we can to help people feed their families and do so without judgement or insecurity. As cost continue to rise and families feel increasingly stressed about how far their dollars stretch, Double Up Food Bucks is meeting the moment and is an important step forward to keeping families healthy and happy,“ says Assemblymember Harry Bronson.
Double Up Food Bucks is offered at Foodlink’s Curbside Market, a mobile market with 64 locations across Rochester and the surrounding communities. Foodlink partnered with Double Up Food Bucks in 2016 and the program has grown steadily year over year, reaching more than 17,000 Curbside Customers. Last year, the market distributed over $53,000 in Double Up Food Bucks. This has been a critical resource for families who lost an average of $159/month in SNAP benefits with the ending of COVID Emergency Allotments this March. Double Up customers consistently will earn the incentive at the beginning of the month and spend it at the end of the month when their benefits have run out. A strong indicator that people rely on this program to fill a food gap.
“The Double Up Food Bucks program has allowed our Curbside Market to stretch our customers’ food budgets even further for the past 7 years, encouraging the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables in communities where diet-related illnesses are prevalent,” said Julia Tedesco, President & CEO of Foodlink. “We are grateful that state funding, championed by Assemblymember Meeks, will allow this critical program to expand even further in the year ahead.”
Since the program launched in 2014, demand has increased year over year; participation grew 107% in the last year alone. The State’s $2 million dollar investment will mean the program can serve more SNAP shoppers and greatly expand participating locations. The funding also allows the program to scale services and distribute the dollars more equitably through partnerships with large grocery stores, such as Tops Markets, and integration with SNAP online grocery providers. Field & Fork Network is dedicated to supporting New York farmers and making fresh, local food accessible to all New Yorkers.
“Double Up Food Bucks has been a unifier from the start,” said Lisa French, Executive Director, Field & Fork Network. “It brings together farmers and families. It brings together communities. And as we’ve seen again this year, it brings together legislators from both sides of the aisle. We look forward to continuing and deepening our partnership with the state.”
The Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) Year 3 Impact Findings report was developed by the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition in collaboration with Fair Food Network and U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The impact report presents the findings that the program has had on projects across the nation, spanning September 1, 2023 to August 31, 2022.
GusNIP, a USDA-funded program that distributes financial incentives and prescriptions for fruits and vegetables to consumers with low income, increases participants access to healthy foods. GusNIP aims to increase food and nutrition security while contributing to local economies and improving food systems in the US. The Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition leads the national evaluation through its Nutrition Incentive Program Training, Technical Assistance, Evaluation, and Information Center (NTAE).
Highlights of the findings include:
- 73% of federal funds ($30.5 million) were distributed as incentives for FVs to people with low income living in the U.S. This proportion was similar to Y2 (75%) and higher than Y1 (68%).
- 3,608 food retail outlets and clinics offered incentives in Y3, nearly doubling the Y2 number (1,959). Of these, 3,057 were GusNIP-funded and 1,308 were GusCRR-funded.
- On average, NI sites were in communities where 14.1% of the population earned an income below the federal poverty level. PPR sites were in communities where 14.8% of the population earned an income below the federal poverty level. Both are higher than the national average of 11.4%.
- GusNIP program evaluation enables grantees to collect important data and receive personalized support to modify and improve future programming.
Furthermore, GusNIP grantees allocated a substantial proportion of their budgets to direct incentives (73%), reached an estimated 148,000+ participants each month, and operated in communities with higher poverty rates than average. For full details about the report and their findings, visit GusNIP NTAE Y3 Impact Findings | Nutrition Incentive Hub.
Field & Fork Network is excited to announce their management of the Niagara Falls City Market, a dynamic community hub for locals and visitors. The market will officially open on June 1st, 2023, and will be located at 19th Street & Pine Avenue in downtown Niagara Falls, NY.Continue reading
Meet the people and organizations that are advancing the work of the Western New York Food as Medicine Coalition, explore best practices using cases studies, and learn about Food as Medicine events, in the new WNY Food as Medicine Coalition newsletter!Continue reading
Field & Fork Network, a New York State nonprofit that connects communities to innovative solutions that foster a sustainable food system, and, Grocerist, which makes e-commerce profitable for grocers with the first and only grocery-specific e-commerce solution built on Shopify, announced today that they have partnered to make New York non-profit The Hub on the Hill the first grocer in the nation to roll out an automated online solution for Double Up Food Bucks NY. Double Up Food Bucks NY helps SNAP recipients stretch their benefits by matching SNAP dollars spent on fresh fruits and vegetables, doubling their impact. The program is available in 25 states, and this is the first automated, scalable solution that other grocers can leverage to make local healthy foods more affordable and accessible.
“Food prices are escalating rapidly, and the Double Up Food Bucks program is a fantastic resource for increasing SNAP recipients’ access to fresh, healthy foods,” said Jeff Anders, Co-founder and CEO of Grocerist. “We’re proud to be working with Field & Fork Network on this important project, which provides a national model for how to implement nutrition incentives and SNAP together online.”
The Hub on the Hill (the Hub) is known for applying innovative technology to benefit its customers. In January, the Hub worked with Grocerist and partner Forage to become the first food hub in the nation to accept SNAP EBT payments online. Now, SNAP recipients shopping online at the Hub will see Double Up Food Bucks NY automatically applied to their online account for their produce purchases -immediately redeemable for discounts on any future produce purchases.
Food insecurity rates across the North Country, which encompasses a geographically large and rural part of the state, are around 13%; significantly higher than the statewide rate of 9.6%, and accessing fresh food is even harder in rural communities where there may not be a grocery store for 30 miles. “When we launched SNAP Online, we knew that was just the first step,” said Lindsay Willemain, Executive Director of The Hub on the Hill. “Getting Double Up Food Bucks NY online was an obvious next one and being able to use this incentive-and take advantage of the Hub’s home delivery service-will help make fresh foods accessible and affordable. With the end of SNAP emergency allotments, it feels even more important to have this incentive available to our customers now.”
“Healthy food incentive programs like Double Up Food Bucks NY are great for families, grocers and our local communities,” said Lisa French, Co-founder and Executive Director of Field & Fork Network. “When families save money on food, they can use it for other needs. These reinvestments in communities also help our local economies. We’re excited to roll this out with The Hub on the Hill and Grocerist, because e-commerce is becoming an important avenue for increasing access to healthy food in our communities.”
“The needs of poor and working people have historically been left out of the local food movement. For the Hub to realize its mission to support and strengthen the local food system here in the North Country, it must consider the needs of everyone involved in that food system—consumers and producers alike. Programs like the Double Up match program area powerful way to achieve this. People using SNAP are able to stretch their benefits twice as far on fruits and vegetables while the farmers who grew them are still making the full amount. This makes a real difference in this moment of increased food prices, increased costs of production, and the simultaneous decrease in SNAP allowances,” said a Hub Customer and SNAP Shopper.
The National Grocers Association Foundation Technical Assistance Center (NGAF TA Center), a partner of the Nutrition Incentive Hub, provided technical assistance services for this project. “While nutrition incentive programs are beneficial to customers and local communities, they are advantageous to the stores operating them as well, but independent grocers don’t always have the resources required to extend these programs online,” said Josh Anderegg, project director for the NGAF TA Center. “The food distribution system is incredibly complex, however, working together, such as in the case with Grocerist, Field & Fork Network, and Hub on the Hill,to provide an automated model can help to make important incentive programs easy and scalable for customers and retailers to participate in across the nation.”
“This innovative collaboration is making it easier for New Yorkers to access fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables while increasing the purchasing power of their SNAP benefits,” said Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz. “We are grateful to Field & Fork Network, Hub on the Hill, and Grocerist for making this happen and look forward to this model being replicated across the state as it can benefit additional SNAP recipients, retailers and communities.”
“The partnership between Field & Fork Network, Hub on the Hill, and Grocerist is an exciting innovation that makes locally grown fruits and vegetables more affordable through the Double Up Food Bucks program and more accessible by offering online SNAP purchasing and home delivery to low-income residents in rural communities,” said Erica Raml, Director of Technical Assistance & Innovation, Nutrition Incentive Hub.
All SNAP recipients are eligible for the Double Up Food Bucks NY program -to learn more, visit www.doubleupnys.com.
About Hub on the Hill
The Hub on the Hill is a nonprofit food hub working to strengthen local supply chains, expand access to nutritious, local food and create regenerative systems in order to support the land and people that help sustain us all. The Hub delivers farm fresh, local food to the doorsteps of individuals, retailers, and institutions like schools from the Canadian Border to the Capital Region every week. https://www.thehubonthehill.org/
About Double Up Food Bucks NY
Double Up Food Bucks is a nationwide nutrition incentive model, administered by Field & Fork Network, servicing millions of low-income SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) users with a dollar-for-dollar match to increase affordability and access to fresh healthy foods at farmers markets, CSAs, farm stands, mobile markets, and grocery stores. In New York State, Double Up has contributed to 5.2 million pounds of healthy food sales to over 100,000 customers, at more than 220 sites spanning 29 counties. To learn more about Double Up Food Bucks and a complete list of participating sites, please visit the program website and social media sites, or call 1-800-682-5016. www.doubleupnys.com
About National Grocers Association Foundation Technical Assistance Center
The NGA Foundation is the 501(c)3 nonprofit arm of the National Grocers Association. The Foundation provides independent retailers with tools to develop more effective recruiting programs, enhance retention efforts and bolster professional leadership development opportunities for employers. One program of NGAF is the grant funded Technical Assistance Center which provides education and resources on nutrition incentive projects, particularly those funded through the USDA Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP). For more information, visit www.ngafoundation.org
Grocerist makes e-commerce profitable for grocers, with the first and only grocery-specific e-commerce solution built on Shopify, the world’s largest e-commerce platform. Grocerist gives merchants an e-commerce store at their own URL with all the functionality offered by their largest competitors, pick/pack technology that reduces store operating costs, a national delivery partner, control over pickup/delivery fees, low credit-card processing fees, white-glove guidance through the online SNAP application, and ongoing email, search and social media marketing support. Grocerist’s mission is to help the independent grocer use online to drive profit -both online and in-store. Learn more at www.grocerist.com
For a complete list of participating Double Up sites and hours of operation, visit www.doubleupnys.com/location
Fighting hunger, high prices amid SNAP benefit decrease
Inflation has been hitting wallets hard, especially when it comes to food.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates Americans are spending nearly 12 percent more on food each month than they were a year ago. According to federal labor data, grocery inflation picked up in January even as prices in the U.S. fell in other industries from the previous month.
Double Up Food Bucks NY, a program administered by Field & Fork Network that doubles the buying power of SNAP customers, continues to grow as a neighborhood grocery store in Franklin County, Martin’s Country Store, joins the Double Up program. Martin’s Country Store located in Brushton, NY, is the first grocery store in the North Country to offer the program which matches SNAP purchases $1 for $1, up to $20 per day, that can be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, with an emphasis on New York-grown produce. The money never expires and can be banked for future purchases. Martins Country Store will be offering the program at Martin’s on Main, their store located in Brushton.
With food costs at an all-time high, more New Yorkers are facing the choice between being hungry and eating healthy every day. Double Up Food Bucks is a resource that helps individuals on SNAP not have to make that choice.
“We’re a family run store that wants to help our community and the Double Up program does just that. It was a no brainer for us; the benefits of moving more fresh produce help the farmers, sellers, and our customers,” said Josiah Martin, Owner, Martin’s Country Store.
“Double Up is a win-win-win,” said Lisa French, co-founder and Executive Director of Field & Fork Network, which administers the Double Up program in New York State. “Low-income families bring home more healthy food, local farmers sell more produce, and more food dollars stay in the local economy. Each has a positive ripple effect of benefits.”
Double Up Food Bucks is available to anyone receiving SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly Food Stamps). There is no cost to participate, it operates like a loyalty program, where dollars are accrued on a card based on purchases and then redeemed at checkout. Individuals can sign up by visiting Martin’s Country Store and talking to a cashier.
Since piloting at 7 Western New York farmers markets in 2014, Double Up has expanded into over 29 counties and 220 locations across the state, serving over 100,000 SNAP customers. The program operates in farmers markets, mobile markets, farm stands, corner stores, and grocery outlets.
Martin’s Country Store hours are Monday- Saturday 8am-6pm. For more information visit: https://martinscountrystore.com/
For a complete list of participating Double Up sites and hours of operation, visit www.doubleupnys.com/locations.