Field & Fork Network and Supporters Are Requesting $2 million Appropriation from NYS for Nutrition Incentive Program Double Up Food Bucks NY, an Investment to be Doubled With Federal Funding
Albany, NY – February 13, 2024: State Senators Michelle Hinchey (D-Kingston) and George Borrello (R-Sunset Bay), Assemblymembers Demond Meeks (D-Rochester), and Angelo Morinello (R-Niagara Falls), along with Field & Fork Network, the American Heart Association, Tops Friendly Markets, and other supporting organizations are calling on the legislature to continue funding Double Up Food Bucks NY with a $2 million appropriation in the FY 2025 New York State Budget.
Double Up Food Bucks NY is a nutrition incentive program that matches Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits $1 for $1, up to $20/day, on local fresh fruits and vegetables. Benefits of Double Up Food Bucks New York include increased healthy food access for New Yorkers, increased economic opportunities for farmers, and an increase in funds flowing back into local economies.
Field & Fork Network is excited to announce the investment by the USDA National Institute of Food & Agriculture of $8 million over the next 4 years via the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP). Field & Fork Network successfully leveraged the state’s $2 million investment from last year to unlock the first $2 million in federal funding as required by the grant’s non-federal match requirement. Field & Fork Network is poised to unlock another $2 million in federal funds to support Double Up Food Bucks NY. The unlocking of these federal funds, however, is contingent upon securing a commitment of an equal non-federal match of $2 million.
With this investment from New York State, Field & Fork Network will be able to utilize both the state and federal funds to grow and expand the Double Up Food Bucks NY program in 2024 and beyond. The program currently operates in more than 220+ sites across 31 counties in New York. With this funding, the program will expand into 6 additional counties in 2024, focusing expansion on farmers markets and large grocery stores.
“Double Up Food Bucks is much more than just a nutrition incentive program. It’s a proven pathway towards health, affordability, and equity, the result of which is a synergistic food economy that benefits the whole community,” said Joshua McGuire, Double Up Food Bucks Program Director at Field & Fork Network.
Senator Michelle Hinchey said,
“Double Up Food Bucks is the definition of a program that is actively creating circular economies within farming communities like the ones I represent in the Hudson Valley and Catskills, helping families afford nutritious food while investing that money straight back into our local farm businesses. I’m proud to champion funding for this essential initiative, and I thank Field & Fork Network for leading the way with this model.”
Senator George Borrello said,
“Access to fresh, nutritious food benefits the health of people of all ages, especially our youngest New Yorkers. That is why continuing our $2 million investment in Double Up Food Bucks is so important. This funding will not only leverage additional federal funds, it will expand the ability of Double Up to help more low-income New Yorkers, support more farmers and promote healthier communities. I am proud to be part of the wide bipartisan coalition speaking in support of this program and the funding it needs to sustain and grow its mission.”
Assemblymember Demond Meeks said,
“We are committed to addressing food insecurity in our community and recognize the importance of providing access to locally sourced and organic food options. By supporting small businesses, farmers, and the local economy, we not only provide direct assistance to those in need but also foster a more sustainable and resilient community. Through our efforts, we have secured funding to make these vital resources available to thousands of New Yorkers in underserved areas. We are proud to collaborate with organizations like Field & Fork Network and our state colleagues to make a positive impact in our community. Together, we are working towards a healthier, more equitable future for all.”
Assemblymember Angelo Morinello said,
“Double Up Food Bucks NY is an essential program that makes a wide variety of healthy food more accessible in our communities. The goal is to make good nutrition more affordable and easier. Local farmers receive the business, and our communities receive the healthy fruits and vegetables. It’s a win-win. With the federal government’s matching grant program, It is paramount we continue to support Double Up so they can continue to do their incredible work.”
How the Program Works:
Anyone who uses the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is eligible for the program. They simply sign up for Double Up Food Bucks NY at any participating location to get started.
Shop for fresh fruits and vegetables at a participating Double Up Food Bucks NY location.
Pay with SNAP benefits, and for every $1 spent, earn $1 in Double Up Food Bucks, up to $20/day.
Use Double Up Food Bucks to buy fresh fruits and vegetables on a future shopping trip.
“Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 5 killers of all Americans,” said Neil Yager, D.O., board member of the American Heart Association in the Capital Region. “Yet, with lifestyle modifications, much of it is preventable. A healthy diet is one of the main ways to prevent cardiovascular diseases, and Double Up Food Bucks really lets the consumer maximize their spending power. Any investment in this program now is an investment in the future health of New Yorkers. The American Heart Association can’t express strongly enough how critical it is to fund Double Up Food Bucks NY.”
Jeff Cady, Vice President of Produce and Floral at Tops Friendly Markets said,
“At Tops Markets, our goals are focused on providing our customers with healthy and nutritious food options and nothing helps us achieve those goals more than fresh fruit & vegetables. We want all of our customers to have the same opportunity no matter what their individual economic or living situation may be. Double Up Food Bucks NY checks those boxes and many more. Since partnering with Field & Fork Network, we have been meeting our customers at the cash registers with instant savings on fresh fruit and vegetables, many locally grown right here in NYS. It has made a huge impact that has continued to grow and resonate with our customers at both the Niagara Falls and Buffalo locations week after week. Tops, as well as Price Chopper/Market 32, have stores throughout NYS in many areas where this type of program would be tremendously beneficial. Additional support for the Double Up Food Bucks NY program will help us continue to make a positive impact on many more NYS communities.”
Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN, CDN, Manager of Lifestyle and Wellness with Price Chopper/Market 32 said,
“As a registered dietitian, I am a fierce advocate for increasing produce intake for all ages. Only 1 in 10 Americans eats enough produce, and that particularly impacts New York residents at risk for nutrition insecurity. DUFB is a proven model that drives increased intake with a focus on locally farmed food. Securing the match to federal funds is a sound investment in the health of our residents, farmers, state economy and health systems.“