Field & Fork Network is pleased to announce that it has been included in the New York State budget for the second year in a row. The organization received bipartisan support for a $2 million appropriation that will help expand its Double Up Food Bucks NY program. Double Up is a vital program that increases food access by connecting New York farmers, grocers, and residents who use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The program helps people using SNAP, purchase more local fresh fruits and vegetables through a dollar-for-dollar match, up to $20 a day.
Field & Fork Network worked closely with State Senators Michelle Hinchey (D-Kingston), George Borrello (R-Sunset Bay) and Assemblymembers Demond Meeks (D-Rochester) and Angelo Morinello (R-Niagara Falls) to secure the appropriation. The program received widespread support in the legislature, with 59 lawmakers signing on in support of the funding. This is because the benefits cross party lines; supporting Double Up Food Bucks 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.
“We are grateful to our champions, our community partners who advocated with us, and to Governor Hochul for recognizing the critical role this program plays in combatting food insecurity,” said Lisa French, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Field & Fork Network. “This funding is a direct investment in New York families, farmers and the local economy, and it will allow us to bring additional federal funding to New York through the USDA’s GusNIP program.”
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 opportunity. The program has helped over 100,000+ SNAP shoppers stretch their food budgets and access nutritious options, generating more than $10.1 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 and avoid having to rely on food banks to feed their families.
“Including Double Up Food Bucks in the state budget means better health for more New Yorkers,” said Tabitha Ellis, vice chair of the New York State Advocacy Committee of the American Heart Association. “The American Heart Association knows that good nutrition builds healthier bodies, which helps stave off chronic illnesses like heart disease and stroke. We’re proud to work with Field and Fork Network on this program that benefits New Yorkers in many ways.”
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.
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 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.”
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 continue 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.”
Field & Fork Network would like to acknowledge the State Representatives and Partners who advocated on behalf of Double Up Food Bucks NY:
Senator Michelle Hinchey, Senator George Borrello, Assemblymember Demond Meeks, Assemblymember Angelo Morinello, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Majority Leader Crystal People-Stokes, Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt, Senator Liz Krueger, Senator Timothy Kennedy, Senator Rachel May, Senator Leroy Comrie, Senator Neil Breslin, Senator Kevin Thomas, Senator Julia Salazar, Senator Samra Brouk, Senator Sean Ryan, Senator Pete Harckham, Senator Lea Webb, Senator Zellnor Myrie, Senator Jabari Brisport, Senator Jeremy Cooney, Senator John Mannion, Senator Roxanne Persaud, Senator Jessica Ramos, Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, Senator John Liu, Senator Alexis Weik, Senator Jack Martins, Senator Joseph Griffo, Senator Thomas O’Mara, Senator Patrick Gallivan, Senator Anthony Palumbo, Senator Peter Oberacker, Assemblymember Michael Norris, Assemblymember Andy Goodell, Assemblymember Matthew Simpson, Assemblymember Matt Slater, Assemblymember Brian Miller, Assemblymember Harry Bronson, Assemblymember Brian Manktelow, Assemblymember John McDonald III Assemblymember Marianne Buttenschon, Assemblymember Brian Maher, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Assemblymember MaryJane Shimsky, Assemblymember Donna Lupardo, Assemblymember Karl Brabenec, Assemblymember Josh Jensen, Assemblymember Jennifer Lunsford, Assemblymember Monica Wallace, Assemblymember Billy Jones, Assemblymember Jonathan Jacobson, Assemblymember Phil Steck, Assemblymember Patrick Burke, Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi, Assemblymember Jonathan Rivera, Assemblymember Maritza Davila, Assemblymember Sarah Clark, Assemblymember Chris Eachus, Assemblymember Anna Kelles, Assembly Ways & Means Staff, Senate Finance Staff, Senate Majority Council, American Heart Association, The Farm Bureau, National Resources Defense Council, Center for Science and Public Interest, The Food Policy Council of Buffalo & Erie County, WNY Food is Medicine Coalition, University of Buffalo School of Public Health, Action Research Collaborative of Cornell, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County, The Jamestown Public Market, Compassion Coalition, Honest Weight Food Co-op, Rolling Grocer 19, Brady Market, The Hub on the Hill, Syracuse Onondaga Food System Alliance, Schenectady Green Market, and Kingston Farmers Market.