New York GusNIP Project Leading Way Nation’s First Automated Integration of a Nutrition Incentive + SNAP Online

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.

Grocerist and Field & Fork Network are already actively working to identify other New York grocers for similar projects, helping them implement both SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks programs online.

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

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.

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.

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

About Grocerist

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

For a complete list of participating Double Up sites and hours of operation, visit

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Fighting hunger, high prices amid SNAP benefit decrease

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. 

For the 2.8 million New Yorkers who rely on federal assistance, things are about to go from bad to worse. Starting in March, every household that receives Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits will begin to receive at least $95 less a month. Household size and income may result in an even larger decrease with some families receiving nearly $300 less per month. 

The change comes as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s temporary SNAP Emergency Allotment benefits — provided since early on during the pandemic to address food insecurity — expire at the end of the February.  In just a few days, eligible households will only receive regular monthly SNAP benefits. 

“That is a pretty serious hit to the family budget,” said Molly Nicol, CEO, Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, who anticipates a dramatic increase in the number of neighbors seeking food assistance as the emergency allotments end. 

Roughy 1.8 million New Yorkers are facing hunger — an individual-level physiological condition that may result from food insecurity, as defined by the USDA. Nearly 600,000 are children, according to Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that feed more than 46 million Americans.

During the pandemic, the Regional Food Bank saw a large increase in those seeking help. It went from distributing 38 million pounds of food per year pre-COVID to 55.8 million pounds of food at the height of the pandemic. The food bank is now at about 50 million pounds per year.

“This means that hard working folks are finding it difficult to feed their families” Nicol said. “Additionally, it means that the Food Bank is also experiencing increased expenses associated with meeting the needs in our 23-county region.”

Food bank CEOs from the Northeast are meeting with USDA representatives in early March to advocate for more food donations and funding for Universal School Meals across the state. They are hoping to convince the federal government to increase SNAP benefits to what they were at the height of the pandemic, Nicol said. 

“The end of SNAP Emergency Allotments will hasten a hunger cliff for many New Yorkers,” said Krista Hesdorfer, MPA, government relations manager for Hunger Solutions New York, a statewide nonprofit dedicated to alleviating hunger in New York. 

This is a federal change, and local social services districts do not have control over it, Hesdorfer said. However, those who do receive SNAP benefits can report any changes — loss of income, increased housing costs, child support payments or allowable medical expenses —  to their local department of social services, which could result in an increase in normal monthly SNAP benefits, she said.

There are also programs available that enhance SNAP benefits, especially when used at farmers markets. Double Up Food Bucks NY, a program of the Field & Fork Network, has become a model for communities across the country. 

The Field & Fork Double Up Food Bucks NY program aims to connect communities throughout the state with sustainable food options by matching EBT or food stamp dollars spent on fruits and vegetables, up to $20 per day. The program provides a $1 to $1 match on SNAP eligible fruit and vegetable purchases at farmers markets, farm stands and select grocers throughout the state, including Honest Weight Food Co-op,  Schenectady Green Market, Can Stop Redemption in Troy, Capital Roots Mobile Markets and West Hill Farmers Market.

“When you couple (the expiration of extended benefits) with the current economic conditions, many low-income families will struggle to fill that gap. Double Up can be a part of the solution and help fill the gap with healthy locally grown produce,” said Lisa French, co-founder and executive director at Field & Fork Network. “Doubling the current $2 million funding to $4 million means the program can provide a critical resource for these families.”

To date, more than $8 million SNAP Double Up dollars have been spent on fresh produce to help alleviate food insecurity. The benefits extend beyond consumers. Purchases support more than 400 farmers who participate in the program. And, roughly $2.8 million SNAP and Double Up dollars have been spent at stores throughout the state.  

In addition to Double Up Food Bucks, there are programs that help New Yorkers put fresh food on the table. Low income seniors and those receiving WIC benefits may be eligible to receive New York State Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs coupons that can be used at participating farmers markets and farm stands. SNAP-to-Market is another program that distributes FreshConnect Checks in addition to the SNAP benefit. For every $5 in SNAP benefits a customer exchanges for wooden tokens, the manager may issue a $2 FreshConnect Check to be used on any SNAP eligible food item.

Double Up Food Bucks NY Continues to Grow With a New Site in Franklin County

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:

For a complete list of participating Double Up sites and hours of operation, visit

In the News: New Yorkers Highlight Opportunities to Grow SNAP Incentives

Original Source: National Resources Defense Council – – Article Published by Sahana Rao, Margaret Brown & Sara Imperiale at

Link to full article: New Yorkers Highlight Opportunities to Grow SNAP Incentives | NRDC

According to – this blog is the first in a series sharing themes and lessons learned from the Natural Resources Defense Council’s research on SNAP and SNAP incentive programs in New York State over the past two years.

People of color and low-income people around the country are disproportionately exposed to environmental burdens. These inequalities are determinative of nearly all aspects of life, including whether families are food secure—meaning whether food is available in nearby, accessible stores, whether it is affordable, and whether it is culturally appropriate.

In New York, more than 10 percent of households are food insecure. Nationally, food insecurity is increasing, amidst inflation and waning Covid support programs. And Black and Latinx adults face food insecurity at disparately high rates – 29 and 32 percent, respectively, compared with 17 percent of white adults.

The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides money for food to individuals and households who meet certain eligibility criteria based on income. As of January 2023, SNAP serves over 42 million people in the United States. In New York, just over 2.8 million people rely on SNAP benefits—up 3.5 percent from last year. For the most recent fiscal year with data available, more than 54 percent of SNAP participants in New York were families with children, while almost 48 percent of New York SNAP users were in families with members who are seniors or disabled.

While SNAP is vital, this framework alone cannot satisfy the need for affordable, accessible, and healthy food for all. To truly fix the hunger crisis, we must address its root causes, including systemic racism, the racial wealth gap, and a food system that benefits corporations at the expense of low-income communities and communities of color.

Despite these systemic inequalities, there is still value in determining how best to strengthen and expand SNAP to ensure that all who are eligible can obtain benefits and use them to purchase healthy and culturally appropriate food. And it’s important to consider how these programs can be better used to build wealth in low-income communities.

Many states, including New York, have created SNAP incentive programs that increase the value of SNAP dollars when they are spent in certain ways, often at farmers markets. These programs offer states the opportunity to leverage federal funds to provide residents with additional money to purchase food, and to simultaneously support local farms and economies. The potential impact is significant, as each of the 2.8 million people in New York who use SNAP may be eligible for SNAP incentive programs, offering increased purchasing power for millions of low-income New Yorkers and harnessing a massive federal safety net for local economies.

Over the past two years, NRDC has gathered both experiential and quantitative data about where and how people use SNAP incentives in New York—and what factors might limit the success of these programs. This is the first in a series of blogs sharing NRDC’s findings, starting with themes from a series of interviews conducted with New Yorkers who have experience navigating SNAP and SNAP incentive programs, ranging from staff at community gardens and local pantries to college students and farmers market managers.

SNAP Incentive Programs in New York State

There are three primary SNAP incentive programs that operate in New York – Field and Fork’s Double Up Food Bucks, New York City’s Health Bucks, and New York State’s Fresh Connect Checks. These three programs differ in how they are funded, how they operate, and what geographies they serve within the state. The interview reflections touch on the overall experience of using SNAP incentives in New York rather than any one specific program.

While this blog focuses on the SNAP incentive program experience in New York, we heard repeatedly about threshold issues with the federal SNAP program and how it is administered in New York—including significant barriers to enrollment and ease of use in retail environments. These challenges spill over into and limit the efficacy of SNAP incentive programs in the state, but they are not the topic of this specific blog. We strongly support improvements to the SNAP program at the federal and state level – as called for by numerous community-based and national organizations.

SNAP Incentive Programs Help Promote Food Security

New Yorkers want to buy fresh, healthy foods

In interviews about SNAP and SNAP incentive programs, we heard repeatedly that community members who use these benefits are interested in eating fresh fruits and vegetables. As Valerie, a project coordinator for a university advocacy group, said, “There’s this misconception that poor people don’t want to eat vegetables and that’s not true. Why would people think that? Everyone wants to eat vegetables, like some people might have preferences on what kinds of vegetables or how they’re prepared….” Similarly, Finn Brigham at Callen-Lorde Center described the excitement people expressed at having access to fresh produce. “I think when I would tell patients that they could use their SNAP benefits, it was like their faces would light up and they’d run and grab their card because they just thought there was something that they couldn’t access or they couldn’t afford.” These programs are powerful tools in increasing the purchasing power of low-income shoppers, helping more families afford the fruits and vegetables they want to eat.

SNAP benefits alone are not meeting household need      

Federal SNAP benefits alone are simply not sufficient to meet users’ needs. Despite small but meaningful increases in SNAP benefits following the 2021 update of the Thrifty Food Plan, many SNAP recipients struggle to afford fresh fruits and vegetables. We repeatedly heard through interviews that cost is a barrier to purchasing produce, and this bears out in data at the national level as well. Abigail, who manages programming at a culinary community center, explained that “affordability remains a central barrier to purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables. There are many times that the benefits are not enough to purchase produce for the whole month or purchase for a household of 2, 3, 4 people.” A farmers market manager in the Bronx put it clearly, stating “I really think people don’t get enough SNAP benefits. And I see when people can buy more vegetables, they buy more vegetables…If [they] don’t have the money to eat well, they aren’t going to eat well.”

One market manager shared insight from the retailer perspective, illustrating how consistently insufficient benefits limit families’ abilities to purchase food. As she described it, “EBT cards are loaded at the beginning of the month, so a significant amount of people come to the market at the beginning of the month, but by the end of the month there is much lower foot traffic.”

With SNAP users demonstrating a strong interest in purchasing fruits and vegetables, and real limitations around affordability of these products, SNAP incentives offer a way for low-income families to purchase more fresh produce. At the same time, SNAP incentive programs also hold enormous potential for local farmers and economies.

New York’s SNAP Incentive Programs Are Not Meeting Their Full Potential

Many potential program beneficiaries are unaware of SNAP incentive programs

The interviews highlighted that many New Yorkers are not aware of SNAP incentive programs, both at an organizational and individual level. Despite working in food and food related organizations in low-income communities, a number of the people we spoke with were simply not familiar with any of the SNAP incentive programs operating in New York. Others were aware of one or more SNAP incentive programs but felt that many of their community members were not familiar with the programs and that their organizations lacked the resources to meaningfully spread the word about SNAP incentives. Several people suggested that more outreach – in accessible and multilingual formats—to low-income communities and community-based organizations about these powerful programs could go a long way in increasing their use.

SNAP incentive programs can be cumbersome to use and to administer

Individuals who are well-versed in New York’s SNAP incentive programs shared that the way the programs are currently administered presents several challenges for consumers and retailers alike.

First, the relative complexity of the program details (e.g., how many incentives you get per SNAP dollar spent, what products the incentives can be used to purchase, etc.) can make it hard for customers to understand the programs and for retailers to administer them. Elizabeth Winn, the Food Access Coordinator for Kingston Farmers Market, explained, “A big challenge that we face, [is] just not having enough people trained to run the [SNAP and SNAP incentive] services that we provide,” adding that it’s a matter of “really understanding what they’re utilizing and then…really just not having enough hands to feel like it can run smoothly.” Clearly explaining how SNAP incentive programs work to customers isn’t easy, especially when people are rushing to do their shopping or if there is a language barrier. This problem is exacerbated if markets shift between two different incentive programs, either from year to year or over the course of a season, or offer two similar but slightly different incentives (e.g., offering a farmers market nutrition program coupon that is not directly tied to SNAP benefits).

Second, programs relying on physical vouchers like paper coupons or tokens can be difficult to manage. At a farm market in the South Bronx, the market manager found SNAP incentive coupons quite cumbersome, both for the market and the customer. Paper coupons can require complicated record keeping for the market, creating unnecessary administrative hurdles during busy market times, especially when juggling multiple incentive programs. Additionally, customers do not always use their SNAP incentives the same day they accrue, making it more likely that families will misplace the physical vouchers or forget to bring them to the market on their next visit.

Several people interviewed who are familiar with the programs suggested that having SNAP incentives loaded back onto beneficiaries’ Electronic Benefit Transfer cards would simplify things for customers and retailers.  This meaningful improvement has been made successfully in other states.

When designed in partnership with the communities that rely on these programs, SNAP incentives play an essential role in addressing challenges around fresh, healthy food affordability and access, provide much needed markets for local farmers, and drive local economic development. The next blog in this series will examine disparities in geographic access to SNAP incentives across New York State.

This article was written and posted by: New Yorkers Highlight Opportunities to Grow SNAP Incentives | NRDC

2023 Double Up Food Bucks NY Farmers/Mobile Market Applications Are Open

Our 2023 Double Up Food Bucks farmers market applications are live!

Field & Fork Network is seeking applications for the 2023 Double Up Food Bucks NY Season. New York State farmers markets, mobile markets, and farm stands that accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) benefits are eligible to apply.

Markets that participated in the program last year, as well as new markets or mobile markets interested in participating this year, must complete an application by 4/1/23.  The application can be found at

About Double Up Food Bucks

Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) is a national model for healthy food incentive programs that provides individuals and families who use SNAP benefits with a dollar-for-dollar match that encourages the purchase of healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Since piloting DUFB NY at seven Western New York farmers markets in 2014, Field & Fork Network has expanded the DUFB NY program into over 220 locations across 29 counties and has served over 100,000 SNAP customers. “The Double Up program is a win-win-win,” said Lisa French, co- founder and executive director of Field & Fork Network. “Low-income families bring home more healthy food, local farmers sell more produce, and more food dollars stay in the local economy.”

Here’s how DUFB NY works:

  • $1 for $1 match on SNAP eligible purchases, up to $20 per day, to purchase fresh local fruits & vegetables.
  • SNAP users can sign up for the program at the market’s SNAP tent. When they receive their SNAP tokens they are matched with Double Up Tokens. Turning $20 into $40 to spend at your vendors booths.
  • Program is offered from July through October.

Benefits of Participating in Double Up Food Bucks

  • Double Up Food Bucks is a federally funded program, that is free to participate in
  • Attract new SNAP customers
  • Monthly re-imbursement checks
  • Our team provides training and tools to operate the program, as well as marketing support
  • Brings more money to produce vendors, more money to farmers and makes produce more accessible for our community members – everyone wins!

Businesses in the local farming and agriculture sector have seen an influx in customers because of Double Up Food Bucks. The ability for customers to stretch their food dollars with the incentive has driven new customers to Double Up sites and created opportunities for market partners to grow their business. “Creekside Market had been a seasonal market since inception, now with the addition of DUFB we are able to operate a year- round grocery store/farm market,” said Alan Butzer, owner of Creekside Market. “The additional sales from DUFB help justify our decision to operate year-round and create jobs.”

Eligibility Requirements

  • Farmers/mobile markets located in New York State
  • Accept SNAP benefits
  • Sell NYS grown produce
  • Farmers markets must have existing SNAP token system in operation
  • Complete applicable monthly or weekly reporting

How to Apply

Interested sites can find the application and additional information about Double Up Food Bucks at

Applications will be accepted between February 15th, 2023 and April 1st, 2023 at 5:00 p.m.

Double Up Food Bucks NY Supporters Are Calling on State Leaders to Increase Funding for New York Families, Farmers, and the Local Economy

A $4M appropriation will allow the program to serve 200,000 low-income families, invest in NY farmers, and the ability to secure millions of dollars in Federal funds through the USDA

BUFFALO, NY — State Senators Michelle Hinchey (D-Kingston) and George Borrello (R-Sunset Bay), Assemblyman Demond Meeks (D-Rochester), Assemblyman Angelo Morinello (R-Niagara Falls), Assemblymember Donna Lupardo (D-Binghamton), along with Field & Fork Network, the NYS Farm Bureau, the American Heart Association and other supporting organizations, are calling on the Legislature to support Double Up Food Bucks NY (Double Up), by allocating a $4 million appropriation in the 2023-24 Budget.

Double Up is a statewide nutrition incentive program that partners with local farmers markets, mobile markets, farm stands, corner stores and New York based grocery stores to increase the purchasing power of low-income families to buy fresh local produce.

For the second year in row, the program has received bi-partisan support in both the Senate and Assembly. This is because the benefits cross party lines; supporting the Double Up Food Bucks program means lawmakers are supporting local farmers and small businesses, providing increased access to nutritious options for low-income families, reducing the cost of government health care spending, and growing the economy in communities across the state.

Win for Families

As inflation and food costs continue to rise causing families to struggle to put healthy 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 opportunity. The program has helped over 100,000+ SNAP shoppers stretch their food budgets and access nutritious options, generating more than $8.3 million in healthy food sales. 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.

Since the program launched in 2014, demand has increased year over year; participation grew 107% in the last year alone. The State’s $4 million dollar investment will mean the program can serve an additional 200,000 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 and integration with SNAP online grocery providers.

“At the end of this month, 2.8 million NY SNAP households will experience a change to their benefit amounts. That’s because the temporary pandemic-related boost to SNAP benefits, known as emergency allotments (EA), are coming to an end. These emergency allotments have been in place since April 2020 and families have come to rely on them to put food on the table each month. When you couple that with the current economic conditions, many low-income families will struggle to fill that gap. Double Up can be a part of the solution and help fill the gap with healthy locally grown produce. Doubling the current $2 million funding to $4 million means the program can provide a critical resource for these families,” said Lisa French, Co-Founder and Executive Director Field & Fork Network.

Win for New York Farmers

New York farmers, particularly small family run farms, struggle to make ends meet. In 2022, Double Up created new economic opportunities for more than 400 farmers. A state investment would allow the program to invest a projected $700,000 directly into these farms. In addition, participating Double Up retail locations are required to purchase at least 20% of their produce from New York farmers to maintain their eligibility. This additional revenue means farmers can expand their production, buy new equipment, hire new employees—in turn generating growth in the local economy.

“New York Farm Bureau believes in expanding access to locally produced food for all New Yorkers. The Double Up Food Bucks program provides greater value for people in need of assistance while expanding market opportunities for farmers. We thank the governor and the bill’s sponsors for championing the program and look forward to its inclusion once again in the final state budget,” said David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President.

Win for Local Economies

According to a study conducted by Colorado State University, The Economic Contributions of Healthy Food Incentives, healthy food incentive programs lead to powerful returns on investment. The study showed that for every dollar spent in New York State with Double Up, $2.20 goes back into stimulating the local economy. In 2022, Double Up purchases contributed $1.9 million to the NYS economy. A $4 million investment in the program by the state would generate $7M for local economies.

Additionally, Field & Fork Network will use the state investment to leverage federal funds through the USDA National Institute of Food & Agriculture Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program. Field & Fork Network has successfully leveraged $4.2 million in private funding, bringing in a total of $8.4 million to NYS. For every dollar the state invests in Double Up, Field & Fork Network plans to leverage with an equal $1 match through the USDA’s GusNIP grant; doubling the impact and dollars available for New Yorkers.

As we work together to solve issues as difficult as hunger and the impacts of diet-related disease, the proven solution of Double Up Food Bucks is already at the table. With adequate funding and a significant boost in the federal share of costs that’s possible in the 2023 farm bill, the program is ready to scale its positive impacts for New York farmers, grocers, families experiencing poverty, and communities across the state.

Senator Michelle Hinchey, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee said, “Fighting food insecurity while keeping food dollars local should always go hand in hand, and Double Up Food Bucks is an innovative program that helps communities across our state do just that. I’m proud to champion increased funding for this essential initiative, which ensures SNAP-eligible families can afford the fresh fruits and vegetables at their local grocery store while also delivering direct support to small businesses and New York farmers. Building a food system that works for all New Yorkers must be a fundamental priority, and we’ll be fighting to deliver this increase to help the Double Up program grow to support more families and economies in need.”

Senator George Borrello, Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee said, “Double Up Food Bucks is an important bi-partisan initiative that continues to have my strongest support. By providing SNAP-eligible New Yorkers with greater access to fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables, this program not only addresses food insecurity, it promotes good health, supports our family farms and keeps food dollars in the community. I look forward to working with the Field & Fork Network and my colleagues in the Legislature to renew our commitment to this innovative nutritional program and those it serves,”

Assemblyman Demond Meeks said, “Accessibility to local and organic foods are fundamental for the most vulnerable members of our community. With rising prices nationwide, families are struggling to acquire essentials. We must take the necessary steps to prevent food insecurity by advocating for reasonable, healthy options for our families. Field & Fork Network continues to play a vital role for residents throughout Upstate New York that don’t have access to healthy food choices. Continued funding will provide direct support to small businesses, farmers, and our local economy. I stand with my colleagues in advocating for Field & Fork Network for their ongoing commitment to the health and welfare of the people of New York State.”

Assemblyman Angelo Morinello said, “Field and Fork Network has not only made our communities healthier by giving better access to more fruits and vegetables, but they have also created a new stream of revenue for our local farmers. With the Double Up Program every dollar spent gives more food to the customer and more revenue to the local farmer, keeping more money in our local economy. The Field and Fork Network is the bridge that connects the two, and I am very proud to support this organization.”

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee said, “Double Up Food Bucks stretches food dollars for SNAP-eligible families, while connecting them to healthy and nutritious produce. At the same time, the program benefits NY farmers and small businesses by providing them with additional revenue.  I fully support increased funding for this important program which currently receives a 1:1 match from the federal government.  Given all of the positive benefits, we should definitely take further advantage of this opportunity.”

Tashara M. Leak, PhD, RD Assistant Professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University College of Human Ecology said, “The Cornell University Action Research Collaborative is honored to lead evaluation efforts to measure the impact of the Double Up Program on more than 100,000 New Yorkers that experience food insecurity. This partnership is a prime example of Cornell’s land-grant mission to use research to better the lives of New York residents. New York state’s continued investment in the initiative is critical to increasing the accessibility of healthy, nutritious produce to low-income families.”

Amy Grover, Sports Medicine and Employee Wellness Coordinator at Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists, and board member of the American Heart Association in Syracuse said, “Double Up Food Bucks has proven to be the win-win-win we always knew it would be, helping farmers, business owners and SNAP clients. Good health deserves full funding, and when people can buy even more produce than they had planned, it’s easier to improve health. We will continue to advocate for doubling up the funding for this important program, from the $2 million currently in the budget, to $4 million.”