The Clear Lake Farmers Market is participating in a unique program that helps combat local food insecurity. It’s called The Double Up Food Bucks program and is led by the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative. The group kicked-off the summer farmers market season with an appreciation event for sponsors and supporters at the Freight House Farmers’ Market on Saturday.
Double Up Food Bucks is a healthy food incentive program that allows SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) customers to match purchases made with their EBT card, up to $10 per day, with Double Up Food Bucks which can be spent on fresh produce at 140+ participating farmers market and grocery store locations in Iowa. The location where the program is available is at the Clear Lake Farmers Market.
“I am proud to be a supporter of Double Up Food Bucks,” said Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, who gave remarks at the event. “This is the kind of thing we want to continue to look at: How we can continue to improve, expand and make fresh fruits and vegetables more readily accessible to all Iowans from all walks of life, no matter their economic circumstances.”
Local partners Lorrie Beaman, Executive Director of Freight House Farmers Market, and Dr. Cheryl True, Board Vice Chair of the Quad City Health Initiative, also gave remarks at the event. Jeffrey Jones, President of Amerigroup Iowa, presented Double Up Food Bucks with a check for $100,000 pledging the Amerigroup Foundation’s support for the program in 2021.
“We know food insecurity is directly linked to the whole health of individuals, families and communities and that’s why we’ve supported Double Up Food Bucks and the Healthiest State Initiative to fight hunger and improve the health of our community,” said Jones.
Customers who utilize Double Up Food Bucks this summer will notice a new QR code on the back of the currency, linking them to Spend Smart. Eat Smart. resources that describe how to store, clean, and prepare various fresh fruits and vegetables. Spend Smart. Eat Smart. is a program of Iowa State University Outreach & Extension.
Double Up Food Bucks is funded through federal SNAP incentive funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and in 2020 received COVID-19 relief funding through the Feeding Iowans Task Force, led by Lt. Gov. Gregg. Double Up Food Bucks is sponsored by Amerigroup, Alliant Energy, Bank of America, Farmers Mutual Hail, Iowa Total Care, Nelson Foundation and the Polk County Boards of Supervisors.
A customer who spends $10 in SNAP benefits at a participating site receives an additional $10 in free Double Up Food Bucks to spend on locally grown fruits and vegetables. The program provides a 1:1 match, up to $10 per day.