LiveWell’s Double Up Food Bucks program is increasing healthy food access, improving the local food economy, and building community across the state
Last summer, LiveWell launched an exciting initiative called Double Up Food Bucks Colorado, a program designed to increase access to healthy food for low-income Coloradans. Double Up Food Bucks allows SNAP (food stamps) shoppers to bring home more fresh fruits and vegetables. When customers spend $1 on any SNAP eligible item, they are eligible to receive $1 for fresh, Colorado-grown fruits and vegetables free. It is a $1 for $1 match so if you spend $5, you get $5. If you spend $10, you get $10, and so on, up to $20 per visit.
In its first year, more than 40 partner sites in 20 counties participated in Double Up Food Bucks Colorado. The program has already seen tremendous success. According to a recent study by LiveWell Colorado, 90 percent of SNAP customers surveyed said the Double Up Food Bucks program helped them buy more fruits and vegetables, and 69 percent said the program inspired them to try new varieties of produce. “This is a big deal, especially when you consider the significant strains and tough choices that SNAP clientele face when it comes to covering the bill for fresh, healthy food,” explains Amy Nelms, LiveWell’s program coordinator for Double Up.
In addition to advancing LiveWell’s goal of increasing access to fruits and vegetables for low-income Coloradans, the program has also benefitted Colorado farmers and the local economy, and contributed to more holistic, inclusive, and healthy communities overall. In fact, LiveWell’s recent study found that most participating market vendors saw an increase in revenue from produce sales, perceived a stronger market environment, and grew their customer base. “Double Up Food Bucks is a program that has benefits for everyone involved,” says Nelms. “It’s beyond charity—it’s about building and belonging to a community and the idea that local food is for all.”
It’s an idea that is certainly catching on in Colorado. This year, the number of Double Up markets has doubled to more than 80 locations in 28 counties across the state, including the exciting addition of our first large supermarket chain stores, Lowe’s Mercado in Aurora and Food King in Greeley. “Double Up is quickly becoming the new standard for farmers markets and other market partners in Colorado,” Nelms says, adding, “It’s such an exciting transformation to see in our local food system.”
For more information about Double Up Food Bucks Colorado—including how it works, how to get involved, and a detailed interactive map of participating locations—please visit our fully bilingual website, doubleupcolorado.org.