Advocates Reach Out In Advance of Growing Season: Tilling the Soil for Double Up Food Bucks

The 2018 growing season may not have officially begun—but for Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB), a LiveWell program that offers financial incentives to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) participants so they can buy more fresh fruits and vegetables—seeds are already being planted for great outcomes this summer and fall.

DUFB, which is entering its third year, expanded to over 100 locations last year. The goals for 2018 are continued growth; specifically more SNAP shoppers taking advantage of the extra food dollars. This goal is occurring with the aid of the Community Food Advocate program, launched as a pilot this past summer by LiveWell Colorado. The Advocate program was successful in engaging existing Double Up Food Bucks Colorado (DUFB) and SNAP participants as well as other community members to spread the word, face to face and neighbor to neighbor, about the DUFB program and how to use it. Advocates are provided stipends and mileage for their work.

While the Colorado growing season has yet to begin for 2018, DUFB is already in motion with a Winter Community Advocates group, who are tilling the soil for a fruitful season ahead. “We’ve learned that it’s very hard to reach partners and build significant relationships in all four corners of the state, while we are based in Denver,” says Wendy Peters Moschetti, LiveWell’s Director of Food Systems. “That’s where our Winter Community Food Advocates come in. They are currently connecting with allies in their communities such as PTAs, food pantries, and county human services, to inform them about DUFB and preparing these partners to help spread the word.”

Advocates play a vital role in informing and guiding Double Up Food Bucks outreach strategies in Colorado, sharing ideas and advising on decisions being made regarding DUFB. Advocates also make recommendations to support welcoming, accessible, and inclusive Farmers Markets and other participating DUFB retailers. The Advocates represent these geographic areas of focus for Winter 2018—Southwest Colorado: La Plata, Montezuma, Dolores, and Archuleta Counties; Denver County, Boulder County, Garfield County, Montrose County, and San Luis Valley.

Teshara Cheyenne, Community Food Advocate for Garfield County, says she looks at the opportunity as another way to serve her community. “Not only do I get to help the farmers in my local areas, but I also get to help children receive fresh fruits and vegetables in their home,” Cheyenne says.

“This is a very special group of people who are dedicating their time to help others access healthy food,” Moschetti says. “They all happen to be women, mothers of school-aged kids, and leaders within their communities. All but two have participated in Double Up Food Bucks themselves, so I think they understand the needs and how to reach out to those who can benefit from the program most.” These Advocates are supported by many partners – including learning from last summer’s Advocates and working with Cooking Matters-Colorado, a critical partner that trains Advocates to lead tours about shopping on a budget at participating DUFB sites. Each Advocate also works closely with a local organizational partner that helps strategize about priority outreach this winter.

2018 Winter Advocates

Liza Marron, San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition, Regional Partner

Mandy Pittman, Alamosa, Community Food Advocate

Dana Wood, Garfield County Public Health, Regional Partner

Teshara Cheyenne, Garfield, Community Food Advocate

Abbie Brewer, Valley Food Partnership, Montrose, Regional Partner

Traci Davis, Montrose, Community Food Advocate

Jill Strange, Boulder County Public Health, Regional Partner

Laura Molina, Denver, Community Food Advocate

Gretchen Groenke, Thriving Lives LLC, SW Colorado, Regional Partner