Double Up Food Bucks Program
Did you know?
Iowa is ranked dead last- 50th out of 50 states- when it comes to fresh fruit and vegetable consumption.1 While over 33 million acres of Iowa’s land is dedicated to agriculture, over 84% of food consumed is imported from out of state. 2
In Iowa, income is the social determinant of health most strongly linked to health, surpassing, but not unrelated to race, education and other factors. In Dubuque this relationship is perhaps most evident when looking at the relationship between overweight children, and eligibility for free and reduced price lunch. At Fulton, Prescott, Jefferson, Marshall, and Audobon where over 65% of students are income elegible for free or reduced price lunch, 33- 44% of the students are overweight. 3
1-CHNA-HIP 2-Martilla-Losure 2012 3- Iowa Department of Human Services May 2016
Established in 2009, the first DUFB program began in Detroit. Expanding to over 150+ markets, the Michigan DUFB’s 5 year pilot study reports:
- 85% of the vendors report making more money at market,
- 93% of families eating more fruits and vegetables, and
- 80% of families report buying fewer high-fat snacks.
Starting in July 2016, the DUFB program was released to Dubuque Farmers’ Market. As one of six markets participating in Iowa, Dubuque provided SNAP recipients with the opportunity for a $1: $1 match at market for purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables.
With 400 NEW market goers due to the DUFB program, vendors participating in the program report an increase of income for the 2016 market. Outside of monetary gains, vendors are working to expand utilizing fresh produce through this program.
The joint project of Dubuque Main Street, Dubuque County ISU Extension & Outreach and the Community Foundation of Dubuque was launched with a seed grant of $1,500. Iowa’s Healthies State program provided further funding to support the program.
In 2015, SNAP beneficiaries spent $4,600 at the market. In 2016, SNAP beneficiaries spent around $7,000.
Since July’s DUFB release, nearly $4,000 has been provided as the $1 match for SNAP users. That makes $6,400 extra flowing through the market to local farmers through the SNAP program.
“Dubuque is one of six communities that have stepped up to the plate,” according to Aryn McLaren of Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative, a privately-led public initiative helping communities to improve the health status of their residents. Other pilot sites include Iowa City, Decorah, Des Moines, Perry and Spencer.
“We are building capacity among Iowa markets in preparation for an application to the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives grant program later in the year. If we succeed, that could bring up to $500,000 federal dollars to Iowa to ramp up Double Up Food Bucks statewide in 2017,” McLaren said.
The Initiative has received $25,000 from the World Food Prize Foundation that will be used to match dollars raised locally for the project.
“As part of our 30th anniversary observance, the World Food Prize is pleased to provide financial support to the Double Up Food Bucks program,” said Kenneth Quinn, World Food Prize president and Loras College graduate. “Our founder Dr. Norman E. Borlaug was a passionate advocate for enhanced nutrition, which is what this marvelous program is all about.”
Also in Dubuque for the program launch was Angela Tagtow, appointed by President Obama to be executive director of the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Speaking for Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Tagtow stated:
“USDA has made historic improvements in the Federal nutrition assistance programs, including updated nutrition standards for school meals; updated WIC food packages that include whole grains, low-fat dairy, and fruits and vegetables; expanding the scope of the SNAP nutrition education program; and supporting unprecedented growth in the number of farmers markets and direct marketing farmers that accept SNAP benefits, from 753 in 2008 to more than 6,400 today.”
ISU Extension has been charged with coordinating Iowa’s local farm and food program statewide. Carolyn Scherf, local food coordinator for Dubuque County Extension, is promoting healthy local foods initiatives with both producers and consumers.
“This project fits perfectly with our mission,” Scherf said. “Poor nutrition is the number one contributor to high rates of obesity, diabetes and other diet-related illnesses. This is especially true in food deserts like those in Dubuque, where low-income families have poor access to healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables. With this program, we can also reach kids during the summer months when they are out of school and off the school lunch program.”
“I sit on the Agriculture and Natural Resources appropriations subcommittee, but we had no room for it in this year’s budget,” Isenhart said. “So Senator Bill Dotzler of Waterloo and I brokered a deal with the World Food Prize Foundation. Ambassador Quinn found the project to be aligned with their focus on hunger in Iowa, so we appreciate his willingness to step in.
“More than 5,100 SNAP users in Dubuque County annually receive some $14.5 million on their electronic benefit cards. That helps feed 10,839 people,” Isenhart observed. “It’s a winning deal for everyone to keep as many of those dollars in the local economy as possible. With the experience of the pilot projects and the demonstration of broad-based community support, we will take another run at state funding next year.”
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The USDA Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program, created by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides communities with an
opportunity to recieve a 1:1 match for every dollar raised during the 2017-2018 Farmers’ Market seasons.
In the News
Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Efforts in Iowa to Promote Access to Heathy Food
WASHINGTON, July 9, 2016 – Secretary Vilsack released the following statement in advance of the Dubuque Farmers’ Market News Conference announcing the Double Up Food Bucks Pilot Program:
“USDA is committed to providing low-income families with the resources they need to consume more nutritious food. Over the past eight years, USDA has made historic improvements in the Federal nutrition assistance programs, including updated nutrition standards for school meals; updated WIC food packages that include whole grains, low-fat dairy, and fruits and vegetables; expanding the scope of the SNAP nutrition education program; and supporting unprecedented growth in the number of farmers markets and direct marketing farmers that accept SNAP benefits, from 753 in 2008 to more than 6,400 today.
“In Iowa, USDA has provided over $250,000 in grants to the Dubuque Farmers’ Market and other projects across the state to promote healthy food access for low-income families, including support for SNAP and WIC EBT at farmers markets. Programs like Double Up Food Bucks build on the success we’ve seen with the use of healthy incentives, and with many of the projects being run at farmers markets, we’re also helping to strengthen local and regional food systems. Projects like these offer us a great opportunity to explore innovative new ways to improve families’ access to healthy, affordable food.”