Take a trip around the Land of a Thousand Flavors and make a contribution to Double Up Food Bucks, an innovative and effective program that provides healthy food to those in need in our state community. When you visit Zingerman’s Delicatessen, Roadhouse, Creamery, Bakehouse and Coffee Co. in a 24-hour period and get your passport signed by a staff member at each stop, we’ll donate $5 (per person) to the Double Up Food Bucks program. Passports are available at any Zingerman’s location (on the back cover of our newsletter) or you can download it here. (As an bonus, completing the tour and turning in your passport also gets you entered into a monthly drawing for a $250 gift card!)
This donation ensures greater access to healthy, fresh food to lower-income residents of our inner cities and “food deserts” while simultaneously strengthening the local economy and improving the livelihood of farmers and rural communities.
How does the Double Up Food Bucks program work?
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) shoppers spend their benefits at a participating farmers’ market and receive an equal amount (up to $20 per market day) provided by DUFB in tokens to purchase any Michigan-grown fruits or vegetables at the market. In effect, the SNAP recipients’ food dollars are doubled: by spending $20 of SNAP benefits at the farmers’ market, the shopper comes home with $40 worth of healthy, fresh, regionally grown produce.
Farmers’ markets are not an immediately apparent solution to problems found in lower-income and historically excluded communities–they are often viewed as primarily serving middle- or upper-class families. But the DUFB program shows that it is possible to create a healthier food environment for lower-income consumers and benefit the local farm economy by increasing the number of SNAP dollars being spent in farmers’ markets.
Funded by more than 35 foundations and corporations, the program has spread from a pilot in 5 Detroit markets in 2009 to 77 markets in 2012.
DUFB is demonstrating the feasibility and effectiveness of using incentives to encourage lower income families to purchase healthier food and support farmers. So far the program is almost exclusively supported by philanthropic dollars, but as our food and farm policy is created for the future with the reauthorization of the Farm Bill, we have an opportunity to provide public funding for this very successful approach to nutrition and rural economic development.
If you want to learn more and become engaged with FFN’s policy campaign to “Shrink Food Deserts and Expand Regional Food Systems,” go to www.fairfoodnetwork.org and sign up to become part of our communications network, so you will be poised to take action with us when the moment comes.
Zingerman’s Community of Businesses is proud to support Fair Food Network which also happens to be based here in Ann Arbor! Thanks to this visionary organization and the work it’s doing for our neighbors in need AND providing a boost to Michigan’s farmers.
Learn more about our November/December Tour de Food and get the passport!