Farmers Market Benefits Low-Income Families Through New Program
Double Up Food Bucks offers match program for SNAP participants at the Farmers Market of the Ozarks and the Branson Farmers Market
The Farmers Market of the Ozarks (FMO) is making it easy for low-income families across the Ozarks to eat healthy with a new Double Up Food Bucks Program that will launch this weekend at the market, which is located at Farmers Park off Republic Road from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The program is a healthy food incentive program that helps low-income families eat more fruits and vegetables and supports local farmers.
“For over a year we have worked on developing funding and educational programming for this new program and are excited to finally launch,” said FMO Executive Director Lane McConnell. “Thanks to assistance from Wholesome Wave, the market was granted $20,000 to use as the funding source for the Double Up Program. These funds will be used to double the food dollars that SNAP participants receive at both our Springfield and Branson markets, creating a win-win for EBT users and local farmers.”
Under Double Up, people who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps) can swipe their EBT cards at the market information tent to buy SNAP tokens, and receive a matching number of Double Up Food Bucks tokens (up to $25 per day). They may use the SNAP tokens to buy any SNAP eligible items at the market, and use the Double Up Food Bucks tokens for any fresh fruits and vegetables.
“Our markets have become more than places to gather and buy quality food for the family, they are a place the community can connect with each other and with the farmers who grow their food,” said Sarah Byrd, FMO Market Manager. “It is within these connections that we spark healthier habits. The new Double Up Program will include cooking and nutrition education classes, which we will be able to give these habits longevity.”
FMO operates market locations in Springfield on Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and in Branson at the Branson Landing on Tuesdays from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The Double Up Program will be available at both locations for SNAP participants. Individuals interested in participating in the program need to come to the Market Hub at each market location and ask market staff to swipe their EBT card and double it.
The Double Up Food Bucks program in Missouri and Kansas is funded by $5.8 million in grant funds — $2.9 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a matching $2.9 million donated by private foundations and local governments.
Double Up Heartland Coalition partners include the Mid-America Regional Council; Cultivate Kansas City; Douglas County, Kansas; the East-West Gateway Council of Governments; and the Fair Food Network based in Michigan. More information is available online at www.DoubleUpHeartland.org
Farmers Market of the Ozarks is a 501c3 non-profit organization that offers consumers a full-range of locally grown farm products from a 150-mile radius of Springfield. Items include: vegetables, fruits, pasta, meat, jams, jellies, salsa, eggs, cheeses, bottled milk, baked goods, honey, artisan crafts and an assortment of concessions. Farmers Market of the Ozarks operates a vibrant farmers market that contributes to the success of local food growers and producers, strengthens the local food economy and serves as a community gathering place for the Ozarks region. For more go online to LoveYourFarmer.com, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @FMOzarks.