Farmer's Markets For All: Low-Income Food Program Grows In Lane Co.
A popular Lane County voucher program has been extended to make locally grown food more affordable to low-income residents.
Double Up Food Bucks is well-known to folks who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, or SNAP. It amounts to a coupon for up to $10.00, per market day, that can be spent at local farmer’s markets.
Rachael Ward of Willamette Farm and Food Coalition says the Food Bucks program makes fresh fruits, veggies, and beans a healthy option for customers. It also pays local growers.
“Who we know want to feed our community, regardless of income, but have a really fine bottom-line and have a revenue that they need to make to sustain a living as a farmer,” said Ward.
A Trillium Community Health Plan grant (through the Lane County Prevention Work Group) will sustain the program for three years and increase the amount of Food Bucks to $20.00 when using an Oregon Trail card at four rural markets.
Double Up Food Bucks are honored at Lane County Farmer’s Market in Eugene. In fact, Ward says before and after the pandemic shuttered the market, the number of SNAP transactions doubled or tripled from previous years.
The Food Bucks script can be used each day markets are open.
Ward says the program benefits the local economy. When money is spent at a farm stand or market, most of it stays in the community.
The $130,000 Trillium grant will expand WFFC’s Farm Stand SNAP Match program, which brings the concept of Double Up Food Bucks to rural farm stands. Customers who use their EBT card at Fox Springs, Organic Redneck Growers, or A&M Family Farms can receive up to an additional $10.00 to spend on fresh produce, meat, eggs, dairy, grains, and cold prepared foods.