USDA Awards Farmers Market Fund $1.9 Million to Expand Double Up Food Bucks Across Oregon
Farmers Market Fund’s nutrition incentive program is a win-win
for Oregon’s families and farmers.
Portland, OR – Nov. 10, 2020 – The Farmers Market Fund (FMF) announced that it has been awarded a $1.9 million federal grant through the USDA’s Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP). This new federal support will allow FMF to expand its successful Double Up Food Bucks nutrition incentive program across Oregon. The Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) program helps SNAP participants access more fresh fruits and vegetables. For every dollar spent on SNAP-eligible foods at participating sites, Double Up Food Bucks recipients will now receive an additional dollar to spend on Oregon-grown fruits and vegetables. Over 700,000 Oregonians –– more than a third of whom are children ––currently receive SNAP benefits.
“We are thrilled that we’ve been selected to receive this grant,” says Molly Notarianni, Farmers Market Fund Executive Director. “This infusion of funds will provide critical support during a time of great need. SNAP participation has increased nearly 30% over the past year as families reel from the impacts of COVID-19. Our state’s small- and medium-sized farms are facing significant hardship as well. The Double Up program is a triple win: this GusNIP grant will uplift Oregon farmers, families, and local economies.”
For nearly a decade, Farmers Market Fund has worked to connect SNAP participants with local produce, facilitating over $3.25 million in combined SNAP and Double Up sales for farmers state-wide. This three-year grant will fund the DUFB program via a collection of outlet types at locations across the states, allowing DUFB to support Oregon families and farmers wherever they live –– urban and rural. The program will serve 65 farmers markets, 40 CSA farms, and 25 grocery stores in 21 of the state’s 36 counties.
Key partners on the grant include the Oregon Food Bank, Oregon Farmers Markets Association, Oregon State University College of Public Health and Human Sciences, and the Portland Area CSA Coalition.
“At a time when so many Oregonians are struggling to make ends meet, this significant expansion of ‘Double Up’ in grocery stores will help thousands of our neighbors access the healthy foods they want and need,” shared Ryan Schoonover, Oregon Food Bank Double Up Food Bucks Coordinator. “Hunger has nearly doubled since the beginning of the pandemic, with communities of color hit especially hard. We’re excited to support efforts to expand Double Up and other programs to include more locally-owned businesses that offer culturally-specific foods.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a dramatic surge in CSA popularity, and we’ve seen a two-fold increase in SNAP CSA participation since we began offering DUFB to shoppers,” explains Holly Hutchason, Portland Area CSA Coalition’s Executive Director. “It’s clear that Double Up has a major impact on helping Oregonians access local produce. With DUFB, this year we’ve been able to help more than 250 families purchase CSA shares with their SNAP benefits.”
The USDA’s investment is matched by $1.9 million in funds provided by local supporters including the Autzen Foundation, New Seasons Market, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, and the farmers markets themselves. The State of Oregon has also made a strong commitment to Double Up, investing $1.5 million from its 2019 budget in the program. “This is incredible news!” says Heather Miles, SNAP Program Manager at Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS). “The Double Food Bucks program provides vital SNAP match food dollars for families throughout Oregon. This grant will allow even more families to have access to farm-fresh produce while also supporting our farmers and growers in Oregon.“
“The Double Up Food Bucks program has long proven helpful to Oregon families stretching their food dollars while putting money directly in the pockets of our state’s small farmers and grocers,” says US Senator Ron Wyden. “Now, in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this successful program run by the Farmers Market Fund will play an even more critical role in Oregon’s economic recovery. I’m thrilled the Farmers Market Fund has earned this grant for its Double Up Food Bucks program to support that role and I’m proud to support all of its important work.”
SNAP shoppers can access the Double Up Food Bucks program at participating farmers markets, grocery stores, and CSAs by using their EBT card. For a list of participating sites, visit doubleuporegon.org.
This work is supported by the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program grant no. 2020-70030-33183 / 1024374 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Published on November 10, 2020