LiveWell’s Healthy Food Access Program Reaches More Low-income Families, Supports Local Farmers & Economy
Editor’s note: For more information about Double Up Food Bucks Colorado—including how it works, how to get involved, free marketing materials to help spread the word, and a detailed interactive map of participating locations—please visit our fully bilingual website, doubleupcolorado.org.
Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) launched last summer through a statewide partnership effort led by LiveWell Colorado, Colorado Department of Human Services, the Colorado Farmers Market Association, Cooking Matters-Colorado, the City of Greeley, and Boulder County Public Health. The program, which is funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant, enables Coloradans with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to receive up to $20 worth of free locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables per visit, when they use their SNAP dollars at participating farmers markets and grocers. The USDA FINI grant brought a half a million dollars of federal funding into Colorado, and is matched by more than $899,000 from 26 partners committing financial and in-kind support to make this program possible in Colorado.
Thirty-eight farmers markets and farm stand locations, four small retailers, and three weekly food box programs in 20 counties across the state partnered to provide DUFB in its inaugural year. The Double Up Food Bucks program was received so well, it will double its reach in 2017, adding eight additional counties, and expanding to 70 farmers markets and farm stands, 10 food box locations, and 10 grocery stores and innovative retailers, including Lowe’s Mercado in Aurora (pictured left with LiveWell CEO Gabriel Guillaume) and Food King in Greeley. Check out the short video below highlighting our kickoff event at Lowe’s on June 14, 2017:
A DUFB year-one evaluation revealed that 90 percent of SNAP customers agreed that the program helped them buy more fruits and vegetables. Moreover, 81 percent of customers strongly agreed that they ate more fruits and vegetables and 69 percent agreed that the program inspired them to try new fruits and vegetables.
Currently, SNAP serves just shy of 500,000 Colorado residents each month[i], providing a critical buffer to food insecurity, helping decrease the burdens of poverty, supporting positive long-term health outcomes, and benefitting children[ii]. Coloradans who receive food stamps are provided $1.41 per meal or $4.23 per day on average[iii], making it challenging to have enough money to buy food for the whole month.
“There are so many benefits to the DUFB Program. It helps close the food-spending gap over the entire month, reducing the risk of turning to unhealthy foods, particularly for children under the age of 18 who constitute almost half of SNAP participants,” said Gabriel Guillaume, President and CEO of LiveWell Colorado. “In addition to families taking home more healthy food, farmers earn more money and the local economy benefits from having dollars spent locally.”
“At least 50 partners have come together to make Double Up Food Bucks Colorado available,” said Wendy Peters Moschetti, LiveWell Colorado Director of Food Systems. “Increasing access to healthy food for families who are low-income is an integral part of LiveWell Colorado’s strategic approach to addressing health inequities statewide. We believe providing SNAP recipients with the ability to purchase more fruits and vegetables is an important step toward that objective.”
One Colorado resident who has benefited from the program shared, “When I heard about this I thought it was amazing. Everyone talks about eating right and now here’s an amazing way to actually do it without spending all of your money on a basket of fruit/vegetables. Thank you!”
Additional DUFB contributors include 1st Southwest Bank, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation, Colorado Health Foundation, Denver Environmental Health, The Denver Foundation, and Denver Health Foundation.
For more information about Double Up Food Bucks Colorado—including how it works, how to get involved, free marketing materials to help spread the word, and a detailed interactive map of participating locations—please visit our fully bilingual website, doubleupcolorado.org.
[i] Food Action and Resource Center report: Profile of Hunger, Poverty, and Federal Nutrition Programs – updated January 2016. Accessed at: http://frac.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/snapdata2016_jan.pdf
[ii] White House Council of Economic Advisors Long-term Benefits of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. December 2015
[iii] USDA Food and Nutrition Service SNAP Program Data