February 9, 2011; Source: Battle Creek Enquirer | The W.K. Kellogg Foundation wants to help people who rely on federal assistance get more bang for their food bucks. A $1.2 million grant will enable low-income residents in several Michigan communities who buy fresh food at farmers' markets using federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance benefit cards (what up until a few years ago were known as food stamps) to double their purchasing power.
Under a program called Double Up Food Bucks, which is operated by Fair Food Network, for every $2 spent, SNAP card users will receive $2 in bonus tokens, up to $20 a day. The tokens can be used to buy more fresh and locally grown food. In a news release issued by the foundation, Oran Hesterman, president and CEO of Fair Food Network said the program is meant to fill the gap in low-income communities, which traditionally have less access to fresh, healthy food than people who live elsewhere.
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"Double Up Food Bucks provides an incentive to use SNAP benefits at markets filled with fresh food rather than stores with few healthy choices," he said. Hesterman adds that the program, "not only stretches residents' food dollars, it keeps those food dollars in the local community, supporting local farmers."—Bruce Trachtenberg