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
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.
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 https://doubleupnys.com/get-involved/offer-double-up-at-your-store-or-market.
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.”
- 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 https://doubleupnys.com/get-involved/offer-double-up-at-your-store-or-market/.
Applications will be accepted between February 15th, 2023 and April 1st, 2023 at 5:00 p.m.
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.”
Cornell’s Action Research Collaborative (ARC) is partnering with Field & Fork Network to evaluate the impact of the Double Up Food Bucks NY program on families that experience food insecurity in New York.
The Double Up Food Bucks NY program, launched in 2014, is the only statewide nutrition incentive program that provides a dollar-for-dollar match on each purchase of fresh produce for New York Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients. The program also creates new economic opportunities for small and mid-sized New York farmers, since retailers offering Double Up Food Bucks are required to provide a certain percentage of locally sourced produce.
Generating sustainable solutions to food insecurity is one of ARC’s priorities, according to Tashara M. Leak, assistant professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences (College of Human Ecology) and co-director of ARC. Leak’s research and ARC’s partnership with Field & Fork Network will also continue its mission of supporting action research projects that bring together researchers, community members and policymakers.
“Double Up is a proven intervention to addressing food insecurity and alleviating the burden of purchasing high-cost produce on more than 40,000 families in upstate New York. Also, more than ever, underserved New Yorkers need access to healthy food options to improve nutrition and health.” says Leak, who is co-principal investigator on the project.
At first, Field & Fork Network launched Double Up Food Bucks NY at just seven farmers markets across the western New York region. Now, with the help of several partners and community organizations, Field & Fork Network has expanded Double Up Food Bucks NY to serve 29 counties through farmer’s markets and stands, co-ops, and even retail locations. With a total of $8.4 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program grant and private funding, Double Up Food Bucks NY has reached over 100,000 SNAP shoppers and their families and supplied more than $2.1 million to underserved NY families.
“At our core we’ve always wanted to look for new innovative ideas on how to improve the food system,” says Lisa French, co-founder and executive director of Field & Fork Network. “When we were introduced to Double Up Food Bucks in 2013, we knew this was a program worth bringing to our community. Rarely do you encounter a program that has benefits for so many: low-income consumers can afford more healthy nutritious foods, local farmers see more money in their pockets, and more federal food assistance dollars go back into the local economy. With ARC, we have the opportunity to better understand our program’s impact across the state.”
Field & Fork Network credits its many partners, such as the American Heart Association (AHA), for the program’s success. In 2020, the need for nutrition programs that decrease barriers to affordability and accessibility became even more apparent. COVID-19 greatly exacerbated issues of food insecurity—particularly for the state’s already vulnerable residents—due to rising levels of unemployment, school closures and general food and supply shortages. The program demand nearly doubled in 2020 and has seen steady growth since.
Now, the program has potential to reach 27 percent of new SNAP customers outside of New York City by 2026. To achieve this, Field & Fork Network and ARC’s Evaluation Unit are exploring innovative ways to increase program participation and leverage additional federal funding. It is estimated that Double Up Food Bucks NY will be able to quadruple the number of people served in New York state with continued federal support.
The Action Research Collaborative’s Evaluation Unit specializes in collecting data to evaluate the impact of initiatives. The Evaluation Unit, led by ARC’s co-directors, and supported by two postdoctoral fellows, Zeynab Jouzi and Ibukun Owoputi, and a research coordinator, will conduct interviews with Double Up NY stakeholders to better understand the landscape for SNAP recipients and farmers in the state to measure the success of Double Up’s implementation and identify new opportunities for growth.
“Growing the Double Up program to serve more New Yorkers requires a more holistic understanding of the actors in the food system—SNAP recipients, farmers, grocers—and how they are all affected by different elements of the system,” says Neil Lewis, Jr., assistant professor in the Department of Communication at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), and ARC co-director. “The Action Research Collaborative’s partnership with Field & Fork Network will help to grow our collective knowledge about the factors that affect food insecurity in New York State, and grow that knowledge in ways that can be translated into action to improve food security in our state. We hope our collaboration will decrease the barriers to purchasing fresh, local produce through innovative methods that especially ease the burden for low-income families.”
We are excited to announce that for the first time Double Up Food Bucks New York is included in the NY State Executive Budget! The funding will help ensure the sustainability of the program.
We are asking our partners and supporters to join us and American Heart Association on February 14th for a Lobby Day at the Capital to advocate for Double Up Food Bucks and Healthy School Meals for All.
When: February 14 at 9:00 a.m.
Where: Capitol Building, Albany
The day at-a-glance:
- 9:00 a.m. – Kick-Off
- 10:00 a.m. – Press Conference
- Post-Press Conference – head out to meet the legislators
Meals, talking points and materials will be included.
Want to join fellow advocates to secure healthy food for all and healthy school meals for students in New York? RSVP and join us at the Capitol!