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

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

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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.