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Iowa Ag News Headlines
How Do SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks Benefit Our Communities?
Iowa Ag Connection - 04/03/2024

Here in rural America, many of us see the benefits of supporting our local farmers and gardeners. It’s hard to top fresh food, and spending our hard-earned money locally contributes to the betterment of our communities as a whole.

Unfortunately, as abundant as fresh food may be within our communities, it isn’t always within reach for some families. When faced with the challenge of feeding a family on a tight budget, cheap, packaged alternatives often replace fresh, nutrient-dense foods. We believe that everyone deserves to have access to fresh, healthy food.

That’s where SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks programs come in. These initiatives go beyond assisting individuals and families in need; they also contribute to the success of local agriculture and economies, creating a win-win situation for consumers and producers alike.

What is SNAP?

SNAP, short for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is a federal program designed to assist low-income individuals and families. Formerly known as food stamps, this program’s goal is to make nutritious foods accessible. Participants receive an Electronic Benefit Transfer card (EBT card) that works in the same manner as a debit card to allow them to purchase eligible foods.

SNAP can be applied toward any food for the household, including:

-fresh produce -meat, poultry, and fish -dairy products -breads and cereals -other foods and (non-alcoholic) beverages -seeds and plants for gardening

This program has been a lifeline for millions, addressing food insecurity and ensuring that vulnerable populations can access the staples they need. SNAP doesn’t cover non-food items, alcohol, tobacco products, or foods that are hot at the point of sale.

What is the Double Up Food Bucks Program?

Double Up Food Bucks is a program that dovetails with SNAP, magnifying the impact of SNAP dollars used for fresh produce. When patrons use their EBT card to make fruit and vegetable purchases, Double Up Food Bucks matches their purchases dollar for dollar, for up to $20 each day, allowing them to double their buying power.

Exclusively available in locally-owned and independent grocery stores and participating farmers markets, Double Up Food Bucks not only aims to increase produce sales, it also encourages customers to shop locally. Ultimately, this puts more home-grown produce on tables throughout our communities, boosts our local economy, and increases sales for area farmers and gardeners.

How do SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks benefit our communities?

Supporting families

The SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks programs work to remove the barriers faced by low-income individuals and families that prevent them from accessing fresh, locally-grown foods. By increasing their access to wholesome, nutrient-dense foods, we can contribute to the overall health of our communities.

Supporting local producers

Double Up Food Bucks creates new opportunities for local farmers and producers to connect with a broader consumer base. This expanded market helps sustain local agriculture and promotes the growth of small and medium-sized farms. In fact, of the producers who participated in the Double Up Food Bucks program, 90% sold more fruits and vegetables, and 85% increased their revenue.

Supporting our local economy

As more SNAP participants utilize the Double Up Food Bucks program, local retailers, farmers markets, and grocery stores reap the benefits of increased foot traffic and sales. This boost is crucial for small business growth and sustainability. As demand for local produce grows, so does the prosperity within the local agricultural sector, and our economy overall.

Additionally, these programs foster a sense of community engagement, bringing people together and promoting a shared commitment to healthier lifestyles, local agriculture, and boosting the local economy.







Click here to read more cfra.org


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