Improving Food Security & Increasing Access to Fresh Produce on Syracuse’s Historic 15th Ward

Toomey Abbott Market Double Up Launch

Double Up Food Bucks NY launches at Toomey Abbott Market

Syracuse, NY – November 16, 2023: Field & Fork Network is pleased to announce the launch of Double Up Food Bucks NY at Toomey Abbott Market. The Double Up incentive program increases food security and improves nutrition security by offering SNAP shoppers a $1 for $1 match on purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables, up to $20 per day. Field & Fork Network worked closely with Syracuse Housing Authority (SHA) and Syracuse Onondaga Food System Alliance (SOFSA) to identify a retail store location that would have the greatest benefit for residents.

Toomey Abbott Market presented an invaluable opportunity to enhance fresh produce accessibility for seniors & individuals with disabilities, who often face the biggest barriers to food access. Located below Toomey Abbott Towers, a 300 apartment SHA high-rise, Toomey Abbott Market offers convenient access to essential groceries, including fresh fruits and vegetables. For the many senior and disabled residents without access to reliable aid or transportation, Toomey Abbott Market is their only grocery option.

“The successful launch of our program at Toomey Abbott Market would not be possible without the partnership and dedication of SHA. Their social workers received specialized training, empowering them to address inquiries and collect program sign-ups from clients directly. SHA’s proactive approach and consistent support has ensured countless residents’ ability to put healthy food on the table,” said Josh McGuire, Double Up Food Bucks NY Program Director.

Senator Rachel May said, “Good nutrition is the basis for a long and fulfilling life; however, for those in need, lack of access and affordability make it challenging to eat healthy fruits and veggies. Double Up Food Bucks is an excellent program helping bridge the divide between some in our community and a nutritious lifestyle.  I was happy to advocate for this excellent nonprofit program during the budget process. I’m excited that it’s expanding and will now be available at the Toomey Abbott Market, right in the place where many seniors live, ensuring they have access to healthy food. I look forward to Double Up Food Bucks’ success in this new location and its continuing expansion in Syracuse.”

Assemblyman Magnarelli said, “The launch of Double Up Food Bucks at Toomey Abbott Market demonstrates the close partnership of the Field & Fork Network and Syracuse Housing Authority. The program fills a need of the residents of Toomey Abbott Towers. Without this opportunity for the residents of Toomey Abbott to purchase fresh produce under this cost-saving program, the disparities of a food desert would continue to widen. I commend both agencies for recognizing this critical need and for bringing this program directly to the door of the residents of Toomey Abbott, who will benefit greatly from its presence.”

Syracuse Housing Authority said, “Many of our residents at Syracuse Housing Authority are on a fixed income and with the ever rising cost of daily necessities such as food our residents are having a hard time getting by. The Double Up Food Bucks program has positively impacted so many of our residents lives by allowing them to stretch their dollar and be able to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. Our residents on the west side have been taking advantage of the Double Up Food Bucks program at Brady Market and our Resident Support Services Team were committed to supporting and expanding the Double Up Food Bucks program to reach even more residents. Toomey Abbott Market now participating in the Double Up Food Bucks program allows even more of our residents to utilize the program and eat healthy.”

“In the historic shadow of Interstate 81 – a symbol of past community upheaval – the Toomey Abbott Market stands as a testament to our commitment to acknowledging and rectifying historical disparities,” said Maura Ackerman, Director of the Syracuse-Onondaga Food Systems Alliance. “The Double Up Food Bucks Program not only revitalizes this space but empowers our community economically, ensuring access to fresh, healthy food becomes a right, not a privilege.”

The impact of DUFBNY on individuals’ food security is significant; with each SNAP purchase, program users can earn up to $20 a day to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables. This helps participants stretch their food budgets and put healthy food on the table.

How the Program Works:

  • Anyone with SNAP is eligible, simply sign up for a Double Up Food Bucks card at Toomey Abbott and start earning. Participants can also earn and spend their Double Up Food Bucks at Brady Market located on Gifford St.
  • Each SNAP dollar spent at the store equates to a dollar for fresh produce, up to $20 per day
  • Double Up Food Bucks never expire, allowing the program to work flexibly and meet individual needs.

Jay Patel, Toomey Abbott Market Owner said, “My name is Jay Patel, and I have been the owner of Toomey Abbott Market since 2007. I am glad we can partake in the Double Up Food Bucks program, as it allows many of our customers to make healthy choices. This program enables us to stock more fresh fruits and vegetables from local vendors for customers to pick from. We started the program on September 25th, and ever since then, we have seen a significant increase in fresh produce sales. We have had about 236 signups and 1600 transactions, which goes on to show that the initiative has been well-received by our customers. I am happy to see that this program encourages customers to make healthier choices by implementing healthy food into their diets, leading to overall health improvement. The Double Up Food Bucks program allows people to eat healthy despite the hardships they face due to increased living costs. This program is a great investment in our community’s long-term well-being.”

Toomey Abbott is located at 1213 Almond St, in Syracuse. The store is open Monday-Saturday from 9am-8pm. Double Up Food Bucks NY also operates at Brady Market, Syracuse Co-op, Brady Farm Stand, and the Burt Street Farm Market. To learn more, visit:

Improving Food Security & Access to More Locally Grown NY Food Made Possible with USDA NIFA Support

Field & Fork Network, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering a sustainable local food system, is honored to announce the receipt of a large-scale grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food & Agriculture through the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP). This grant will help sustain and grow Field & Fork Network’s Double Up Food Bucks NY (Double Up) nutrition incentive program, which works to improve dietary health and nutrition security among underserved communities in New York State. 

For 10 years, Field & Fork Network has focused on rigorous evaluation and new technology to improve, scale, and deliver the program more equitably. Today, Double Up is available at more than 230 access points including grocery stores, farmers markets and mobile markets throughout New York State. Since 2014, the program has brought more than $13 million in combined SNAP and Double Up sales—dollars directly benefiting New York farmers and local businesses—equating to more than 8.6 million pounds of healthy food to New York families.  

“Double Up provides multiple benefits: it’s a win for low-income families putting more healthy food on their tables; it’s a win for NY farmers selling more produce and a win for area businesses as more food dollars circulate in the local economy,” said Josh McGuire, Double Up NY Program Director.  

Field & Fork Network’s Double Up program provides Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants with a $1-for-$1 match on purchases, that can be used to buy local fresh produce and contributes to a more sustainable food system. Field & Fork Network is committed to ensuring every New Yorker has access to the program.  The project will focus on three key innovations to reduce barriers and increase accessibility: 

  • Automatic Enrollment at Grocery Stores: Field & Fork Network is partnering with Catalina Marketing to automatically offer SNAP users the incentive when they make a qualifying purchase using their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. This makes the program more accessible by allowing it to operate in larger chain grocery stores and eliminating the sign-up barrier. Field & Fork Network has created strategic partnerships with various chain grocery stores including Tops Friendly Markets and Albertsons Companies to offer the program. 
  • Expansion to SNAP Online Shopping: Integrating Double Up with SNAP Online, reduces transportation barriers and time constraints. Allowing SNAP shoppers to take advantage of the resource with the click of a button. 
  • Support for Nutrition Incentives to Purchase Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): Double Up will offer SNAP shoppers a “BOGO” incentive for CSA boxes. This initiative increases access to and convenience of purchasing high quality, local produce for SNAP shoppers and invests in NY farmers. 

“Before Double Up, it was hard to stretch my SNAP funds and make them work. I was really limited in what I could shop for. Unfortunately, those things are not nutritious, and so it came down to making a choice between eating healthy and eating. Double Up gave me the extra money to buy fresh foods and incentivized me to go to the farmers market,” said Tim Bryant, Double Up Shopper. 

The grant award is an $8 million investment which requires non-federal matching funds. These federal dollars are leveraging NY State funds to help serve New Yorkers in need. Together this public-private partnership is supporting an ambitious New York expansion. Specifically, it aims to bring Double Up to every county in the state outside of NYC by 2027, reaching over 50,000 new SNAP households. This is Field & Fork Network’s second large scale Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program grant, the first large scale grant was received in 2020. 

Field & Fork Network’s success in securing this grant was made possible through the crucial support of evaluation partners, Action Research Collaborative (ARC) at Cornell University.  

“We’ve been working with Field & Fork Network since 2022 to evaluate the Double Up Food Bucks Program and its impact on SNAP recipients, farmers, grocers. With this new USDA funding, we look forward to using innovative strategies to make the program more accessible to low-income families across New York,” said Tashara Leak, associate professor and associate dean at Cornell University and co-Principial Investigator on the project. 

This grant underscores Field & Fork Network’s commitment to improving food security and enhancing access to locally grown, fresh food in New York State. It represents a significant step in reaching a more equitable and sustainable food system. Field & Fork Network’s innovative ideas and solutions continue to position the organization as a leader in the nutrition incentive space. 

Double Up Food Bucks NY Pilots With Tops Friendly Markets Making Fresh Local Food More Affordable

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).

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The Niagara Falls City Market Unveils Exciting Season with New Vendors, Special Events, Extended Hours, Enhanced Safety Measures, and Abundant Local Produce

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.

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Assemblyman Demond Meeks and Assemblyman Harry Bronson Join Field & Fork Network and Foodlink to Announce its Inclusion in the New York State Budget

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.”

GusNIP (USDA’s Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program) Year 3 Impact Report Released

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.