Double Up Food Bucks
Double Up Food Bucks, Iowa’s statewide healthy food incentive program, is coming to a select group of farmers markets – including the Perry and Lutheran Services in Iowa farmers markets – starting July 1, 2016. Double Up matches the value of federal nutrition benefits spent at participating farmers markets, helping people bring home healthier, locally grown fruits and vegetables.
The Double Up program matches the value of SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) purchases made at participating farmers markets with additional dollars to spend on fresh, locally grown produce. For instance, a family that spends $10 in SNAP benefits at a participating farmers market receives an additional $10 in Double Up Food Bucks to purchase Iowa-grown fruits and vegetables.
The wins are three-fold: low-income families eat healthier food, local farmers gain new customers and make more money, and more food dollars stay in the local economy. Each has a ripple effect of benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Double Up Food Bucks?
Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) is a program that “matches” SNAP EBT Card benefits spent at select farmers markets. Whatever you spend on your SNAP card, you’ll get a dollar for dollar match of up to $10 in DUFB that you can spend on fresh fruits and vegetables grown in Iowa. So, if you spend $10 on your SNAP EBT Card, you’ll get an extra $10 – FREE – that you can use to buy more fresh, locally-grown produce.
How do I use my EBT card at the Perry or LSI farmers market?
The Perry and LSI farmers market have a central location where a staff person can swipe your EBT card. Tell the staff person how much you want to spend on your EBT card, and you’ll get that amount of tokens that you spend like cash with the vendors that sell eligible food items. Tokes are work $1 each, and are only good at the market where you received them.
How do I get Double Up Food Buck tokens?
When you use your EBT card at a participating market, you’ll automatically get an equal value of DUFB, up to $10. DUFB tokens are worth $1 each.
What can I buy with my DUFB tokens and my SNAP EBT Card benefits?
You can spend your DUFB on fresh fruit and vegetables that were grown in Iowa. Look for vendors with a “Double Up Food Bucks Accepted Here” sign.
You can also use DUFB to buy plans to grow food in your own garden. You can spend your SNAP EBT Card benefits on almost anything edible at the market, except ready-to-eat prepared foods.
Why can I only buy Iowa-grown fruit and vegetables with my DUFB?
DUFB is a program with two goals: to help low-income families access fresher, healthy foods AND to support local farmers. By spending your DUFB on Iowa-grown products, you’re helping local farmers boost their incomes, and that is great for the Iowa economy. You can still use your SNAP EBT Card benefits for other food items, like meats, cheese, and fresh breads from other market vendors.
Do I have to sign up for something?
No, just come to the market and use your EBT card. Go to the DUFB information stand to swipe your EBT card. A staff member will help you and they will record the last few digits of your EBT card account number – this is only so that we can track how many new customers are coming because of DUFB and how many times people come back.
What if I don't want to spend all my tokens today?
Keep them and use them next week! DUFB are not refundable because they’re free. Some people like to save up their DUFB for when their favorite fruit and vegetables are in season, and then buy large quantities to can or freeze. The last day to use your DUFB tokens is the closing day of the 2016 market season.
Why can I only get $10 per market day?
DUFB has a limited budget. We want as many people as possible to get the benefits of doubling their fruit and vegetable purchasing power, and the best way to do that is to limit the amount of tokens one person can get per market visit. You can come back every week to the LSI or Perry farmers market and you’ll get up to $10 matched at each and every visit from now to the end of the market season.
Can I use DUFB anywhere else?
No, not at this time. DUFB must be redeemed at the market in which they were originally acquired.
Is it really free? Where does the money come from?
Yes, it is really free. DUFB is a project of the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative
, Eat Greater Des Moines, and Dallas County Public Health
. The goal is to get more healthy food to Iowa families while supporting Iowa farmers. Funding comes from different private company foundations and corporations throughout Iowa and beyond.
What is a EBT Card and how can I get one?
An EBT card is the common name for the electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card used by recipients of federal food assistance benefits in Iowa. SNAP, the Supplemental Assistance Program is the new name for the federal food assistance program formerly called Food Stamps.
In order to qualify for a EBT card, you must meet certain requirements for income and expenses determined by the State of Iowa. To see if you qualify and apply for benefits, call 1-855-944-3663 or go here. You can also contact your local food bank for information on where to go in your community to apply for benefits, or call United Way’s 2-1-1 service (dial 2-1-1 on any phone).
Many thanks to program sponsors, United Way of Central Iowa and Principal Financial Group.