Field & Fork Network is proud to announce an exciting partnership with Tops Friendly Markets to pilot their Double Up Food Bucks NY program at two Tops locations: 1275 Jefferson Ave in Buffalo, NY, and the 1000 Portage Road in Niagara Falls, NY. This innovative program aims to increase access to fresh produce and make it more affordable for individuals with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by providing a $1 for $1 match on produce purchases (up to $5 per day).Continue reading
Groundwork Buffalo, Field & Fork Network and Grassroots Gardens are pleased to announce the Fresh Food Fellows: Urban Agriculture Entrepreneurship Program, a paid job training opportunity and certification program for Buffalo youth that will prepare the next generation of food and agriculture industry professionals for the workforce.
Over the course of six months, participants will gain employable and transferable job skills by learning how to grow, cultivate and sell produce in an urban environment. They will also accrue firsthand job experience through employment in real markets and receive ongoing support for career development.
“Our program aims to increase awareness of opportunities in the growing agricultural sector as well as create new opportunities within the local food system to support community health. This certification program frames urban agriculture as an entrepreneurial endeavor and will help to develop a new generation of food and agriculture professionals in Buffalo, generating a pipeline of skilled labor that connects youth to real job opportunities in the city and region,” said Antonina Simeti, executive director of Groundwork Buffalo.
The program, which will kick off in late March and run through August, brings three organizations together in partnership. Groundwork Buffalo will lead recruitment and program oversight efforts and connect the fellows to other youth and opportunities within their broader Green Team Youth Program; Field and Fork Network will adapt their Fresh Food Fellows educational curriculum to conduct classroom workshops on personal goal setting, resume writing, interview skills, workplace management, and business planning; and Grassroots Gardens will train participants in the cultivation, construction and operation of a market garden and farm stand.
“The Fresh Food Fellows project allows us to work collaboratively to create a partnership that is greater than the sum of its parts. Each of our organizations works to strengthen the local food system and urban agriculture landscape in complimentary ways, from the perspectives of land use, access, nutrition and community engagement, and this project allows us to bring our collective areas of expertise together to share with and empower youth,” said Melissa Fratello, executive director of Grassroots Gardens. “Market gardens are a unique tool to introduce participants to agriculture on an urban scale, while serving the needs of the community.”
Groundwork Market Garden, an urban farm that provides community members with organic, nutrient-rich produce to promote greater health and a connection to the local food system, and the African Heritage Co-operative Mobile Market, a membership-based co-op that helps the local community take ownership of its food and provide employment opportunities for itself, will act as employer partners. Youth will intern one to two days a week at these sites during the summer work portion of the program. Delavan-Grider Community Center will provide classroom space and serve as a home base for a new, nearby market garden.
The program is made possible by a two-year Green Jobs For Youth grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which aims to serve communities that face environmental justice and unemployment challenges.
Interested youth can find more information and learn how to apply for the program by contacting Johnnie Fenderson at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for applications is Thursday, March 8, 2018.
A holistic approach to health includes better nutrition. Field & Fork Network’s Double Up Food Bucks program, a dollar-for-dollar match on fresh fruits and vegetables for those on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), helps low-income households bring home more fruits and vegetables — which in turn promotes better nutrition.
“Families are eating more healthy food as a result of the program,” said Lisa Tucker French, cofounder and executive director. “Ultimately, we’re making fresh, local food more accessible and more affordable.”
Click here to read more about how the New York State Health Foundation is supporting programs like Double Up that tackle health outside of just the doctor’s office.
New Federal and Private Support Fuels Growth of SNAP Incentives, Increasing Healthy Food Access
and Supporting Farmers.
Buffalo, N.Y. August 11, 2017 – Field & Fork Network announced today it will be partnering with Fair Food Network and Live Well Colorado to expand and innovate the Double Up Food Bucks produce incentive program across Western New York.
Double Up Food Bucks boosts the value of SNAP (formerly known as “food stamps”) when spent on fruits and vegetables. For instance, if a family spends $10 in SNAP benefits at a farmers market, they receive $10 in Double Up Food Bucks to buy locally grown produce.
“Having the resources to continue the expansion of Double Up is a great benefit to this community. Not only does it increase access and affordability of fresh produce for low-income individuals and families, it also helps redirect federal food assistance dollars back into our local agriculture community. A definite win-win!” said Lisa French, Co-founder and Executive Director of Field & Fork Network.
This new funding will allow for continued program growth and innovation with a focus on:
- Grocery expansion in Western New York. While SNAP incentives began in farmers markets, grocery is a critical venue to reach more consumers year-round.
- Technology innovations:
- E-incentives: Until recently, most farmers markets processed incentives with physical tokens. New electronic transaction technologies will be deployed at select farmers markets.
- Interoperability: In select Western New York communities, shoppers will be able to earn Double Up Food Bucks at one site and redeem them at a different location. This technology was developed in Flint, Michigan to help residents get more fresh produce in response to the water crisis.
Support for this work is being provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food & Agriculture, by the New York State Health Foundation and by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation in partnership with Fair Food Network.
This builds on a foundation of support provided over the years by the John R. Oishei Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo, East Hill Foundation, Grigg Lewis Foundation, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, First Niagara Foundation, Univera Healthcare and the Garman Family Fund.
Field & Fork Network is a food and farming organization dedicated to building a thriving regional food system in Western New York by creating more economic opportunities for local agriculture and by providing greater access to fresh, local foods.
Field & Fork Network is thrilled to kick off the fourth season of our Double Up Food Bucks program! Double Up Food Bucks is a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) incentive that increases access to fresh, healthy foods for low-income consumers by matching federal food assistance benefits $1 for $1. The 2017 season will include more than 90 sites across 11 Western New York counties and will include the cities of Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Rochester. Continued expansion will also diversify the program’s access points to add year-round markets, more seasonal farmers markets, mobile markets and healthy corner stores.
Last week, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visited the REAP Olean Farmers Market—a Double Up Food Bucks site—to speak out against proposed cuts to SNAP. Sen. Gillibrand discussed how SNAP helps the Olean farmers’ market and other markets across the country expand their customer base while encouraging people to buy local and eat healthy. You can read more about the senator’s stop at the market here.
For more information on the Double Up Food Bucks, including a map of this season’s participating locations, please visit the program website.