Over the next few weeks, the Waco Downtown Farmers Market will be launching Double Up Food Bucks as a three-month pilot program funded by the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District with seed money from the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge. Double Up Food Bucks is a nutrition incentive program that will match up to $20 of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka Food Stamps) purchases every market – to be utilized for purchasing locally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables and food-bearing plant starts.
Double Up Food Bucks is a program of the Fair Food Network in Michigan – which has since expanded to 23 states, including the Lubbock/Amarillo area of Texas with the help of Texas Hunger Initiative. Locally, WDFM is working with the Public Health District as well as Caritas and local Family Health Centers to spread the word to individuals who have the greatest to gain from a nutrition incentive program at the Market.
The DUFB Pilot overlaps World Hunger Relief, Inc.’s spring launch of its Produce Prescription Program – delivering weekly boxes packed with fresh produce prescribed by local doctors at three Family Health Centers of Waco. Starting this week, flyers for Double Up Food Bucks at the Farmers Market will be distributed in each of the Produce Prescription boxes – highlighting more opportunities for families and individuals to stretch food dollars and increase consumption of locally grown produce.
Over the course of a month, Double Up Food Bucks could provide a household upwards of $80-100 worth of additional locally grown produce – or a plants to start a lovely vegetable garden in a backyard, patio or sunny windowsill. Funds provided by the Public Health District – as well as a grant from Capital Farm Credit – will support cooking demonstrations featuring local chefs preparing local ingredients available at market with simple, seasonal recipes. And for customers who choose to start their garden with Double Up Food Bucks, the McLennan County Master Gardeners are on hand twice monthly at the Market with tips and tricks for growing in Central Texas.
Not only will Double Up Food Bucks expand purchasing power of local residents, but it will also increase economic opportunity for local farmers and vendors by encouraging the spending of federal dollars locally. Healthy families participating in their local food systems help create healthy thriving economies.
Whether you are a lover of local food, supporter of small businesses, or an advocate for increased food security – please consider sustaining the Double Up Food Bucks Program at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market with a donation or contact us about becoming a corporate sponsor. Help ensure Double Up Food Bucks can continue to support healthy families in Waco beyond the three month pilot.
For more information about how SNAP/DUFB work at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market, please feel free to find Bethel, the Market Manager, at the Welcome booth any Saturday or call/email her anytime. And for those of you who know folks on SNAP, please help get the word out!
Bethel Erickson-Bruce, Market Manager – [email protected] – (254) 307-1884