An enormous amount of social capital and good spirit goes into bringing healthy food incentive programs to life every day, in communities across America.
These programs are helping low-income SNAP participants get more fruits and vegetables as a means to boost nutrition and reduce the toll of diet-related health conditions. When connected with local agriculture, incentives also have the potential to support family farmers and keep more food dollars circulating in the local economy. A win-win-win.
Fair Food Network launched our healthy food incentive program, Double Up Food Bucks, at a handful of Michigan farmers markets in 2009. Rigorous evaluation has been a cornerstone of our work as the program expanded into a statewide effort. We remain diligent in tracking incentives dollars distributed and redeemed, usage rates, percentage of shoppers buying and eating more produce, and other core metrics.
But we are also committed to listening to the stories behind those numbers.
This year, we sat down with some of the families, farmers, market managers, store owners, and others that make the Double Up program a success in Michigan--and now nearly 20 states across the country – from New Mexico, to Kansas, to Western New York.
Real people, remarkable stories.
In this new storytelling series, you will hear from a mom who used SNAP and Double Up while in graduate school. She shares how her experience with this program shifted from simply “a nutrition program” to “a learning experience” that helped her teach her young son about the foods needed to get and stay healthy.
You will see a video spotlighting the voices of Flint residents and community leaders, including local activist/artist Mama Sol and pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, as they reflect on the city’s water crisis and how Double Up is helping more families get the nutritious foods most needed at this time.
And you will hear from a healthcare foundation program officer on why she supports produce incentives as means to help level the playing field in areas of highest need while producing long-term cost savings and health dividends.
In each of these, you will hear directly from the people spotlighted: their words, their experiences, the stories of everyday Americans.
We hope you take a moment to listen.
You can find the full Voices of Double Up in America series at http://fairfoodnetwork.org/connect/blog/voices-double-up-america. And join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter #DoubleUp.