Double Up Food Bucks and Farmers Market Nutrition Program: Nutrition Incentive Programs (Part 2)

by Emily Solomon

This is Part 2 of a 3-part series featuring several nutrition incentive programs that operate in New York State. Please see Part 1 of the series here.

Federal food assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP,  formerly known as food stamps) have been shown to significantly reduce food insecurity. However, many SNAP users have reported difficulty in accessing and affording nutritious foods, and consumption of fruits and vegetables in SNAP households remains significantly below recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. One promising approach to addressing these challenges are nutrition incentive programs, which are designed to improve access to fruits and vegetables among low-income populations by reducing the cost burden of these foods. Nutrition incentive programs work by providing recipients with more purchasing power to be used on fresh produce.

Field and Fork Network Double Up Food Bucks Program 

How it works: Double Up Food Bucks is a nutrition incentive program that matches SNAP purchases at participating farmers markets, mobile markets and retail sites. Double Up provides a $1 for $1 match on any SNAP purchase.

According to the Field and Fork Network website, “In order to ensure that this program can operate in many different places, there are different ways to earn and spend your Double Up Food Bucks, which we call our Double Up Currencies. Although it might look different depending on where you shop, the main steps will always be the same:” 

  • Sign up in person at loyalty card locations
  • Swipe your EBT card
  • Match your SNAP dollars $1 for $1 when you purchase SNAP-eligible foods to earn FREE Double Up Food Bucks – either to be spent later or for 50% off your produce depending on the location
  • Shop for qualifying Double Up items

Users can sign up for Double Up Food Bucks in person at partnered locations. For more information on how the program works at various locations, click HERE.

Where it works: Double Up Food Bucks can be used at partnered farmers markets, mobile markets, farm stands, retail locations, corner stores, or grocery stores. The funds never expire and can be banked for future purchases. See the Field and Fork location finder to find a partnered retailer near you. 

Year Started: Double Up Food Bucks Program began in 2014.

Recipients: SNAP recipients qualify for Double Up Food Bucks

Results/Progress: Double Up Food Bucks has expanded to 28 counties across New York State with over 200 participating farmers. Since the program began in 2014, there has been $1.8 million of healthy food purchased with SNAP and Double Up Bucks by over 24,000 participants. As of 2019, over 1.1 million pounds of healthy food was purchased using SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks and 96% of participants reported their families are eating more fresh fruits and vegetables.

Learn More:

Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP)

How it works: As found on the official website for FMNP, “The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) provides checks to women, infants and children through the Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) and to seniors through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) for the purchase of locally grown, fresh fruits and vegetables. FMNP checks enable WIC participants and CSFP seniors to obtain nutritious, fresh produce in addition to the foods WIC and CSFP provide.” 

FMNP are administered by WIC and CSFP agencies. To find an agency near you please visit the Growing Up Healthy Hotline.

  • Seniors must contact their local county Office for the Aging for more information about where to receive Senior FMNP checks.
  • WIC participants can receive their WIC FMNP checks at their local county WIC office.

Where it works: FMNP checks are worth $4 each. FMNP checks can be used at participating farmers markets and farm stands. For a list of farmers markets and stands that accept FMNP, see the Department of Agriculture and Markets list.

Year Started: FMNP was started in 1992

Recipients: Particpants of the Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC) and seniors in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) qualify for FMNP checks. Specifically: 

  • Pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to the age of five, who are enrolled in the New York State Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), are eligible to receive WIC FMNP checks.
  • Seniors (aged 60 years or older) who live in New York State, and are low-income, are eligible to receive Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) checks.

Results/Progress:  Approximately 300,000 households in New York State benefit from FMNP checks annually.

Learn More:

  • Farmers Market Coupons Now Available for Older Adults Across New York State (Spectrum Local News 1)
  • WIC Families Can Now Get Vouchers for Farmers Market Purchases (Public Service News)
  • Evaluation of an Educational Initiative to Promote Shopping at Farmers’ Markets Among the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Participants in New York City (Journal of Community Health)
  • Community food environments and healthy food access among older adults: A review of the evidence for the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (Social Work in Health Care)
  • Evaluating the Implementation of a Farmers’ Market Targeting WIC FMNP Participants (Health Promotion Practice)
  • Outcomes of a randomized controlled trial of nutrition education to promote farmers’ market fruit and vegetable purchases and consumption among women enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (BMC Nutrition)

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