Originally Published: July 21, 2016 5:55 a.m.
PRESCOTT – Low-income families’ food dollars will stretch farther when they start shopping at the Prescott and Chino Valley farmers markets.
Beginning this Saturday, July 23, the markets will launch the Double Up AZ program. Double Up AZ provides SNAP (formerly known as “food stamps”) recipients with additional money to spend on Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables when they use their EBT cards at participating farmers markets.
Double Up AZ will provide a dollar-for-dollar match in SNAP dollars at participating Double Up sites, up to $10 per visit. If a family spends $10 in SNAP dollars at the market, they receive an additional $10 in Double Up Food Bucks to spend on Arizona grown fruits and vegetables.
Families bring home $20 worth of healthy food for $10. Local farmers gain new customers, sell more produce, and make more money. SNAP participants stimulate economic activity and opportunity within their communities. A dollar spent at a farmers’ market can generate $2.80 for that community’s economy. Right now, less than 1 percent of SNAP dollars is spent at farmers’ markets in Arizona and with Arizona’s local farmers and growers
The program is made possible thanks to a $400,000 grant from the USDA, awarded to Gilbert-based nonprofit Pinnacle Prevention.
Double Up AZ is a program adapted from Fair Food Network in Michigan and their successful Double Up fruit and vegetable incentive model. Double Up AZ will be implemented in partnership with state and local agencies and community-based organizations at farmers markets, farm stands, mobile markets, and through farmer-based community supported agriculture (CSA) programs. Double Up AZ will also be launched at sites in Ajo, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Mesa, Phoenix, and Scottsdale.
“The Double Up model and other healthy food incentive programs have proven to be so impactful in other states,” said Adrienne Udarbe, executive director of Pinnacle Prevention. “Low-income families report eating more fruits and vegetables and purchasing fewer low-nutrition options because of programs like these. We also know there is a tremendous economic benefit by giving farmers a financial boost. Farmers participating in the program in other states have seen a significant increase in their sales of fruits and vegetables which has led many to add additional acreage of fruits and vegetables.”
Pinnacle Prevention is dedicated to building healthy food systems and active living opportunities across Arizona in support of thriving communities. This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Grant Program.
For more information, visit www.doubleupfoodbucksarizona.org.