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OR SNAP Recipients Can 'Double Up' at Farmers Markets

The Double Up Food Bucks program is available in roughly half of Oregon's farmers markets. (Farmers Market Fund)
The Double Up Food Bucks program is available in roughly half of Oregon's farmers markets. (Farmers Market Fund)
July 12, 2019

PORTLAND, Ore. – A program that helps food-benefit recipients purchase fresh fruits and vegetables is set to expand with additional funding from Oregon.

The Double Up Food Bucks program matches every dollar up to $5 or $10 spent at farmers markets for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP participants. Oregon is appropriating $1.5 million to Double Up Food Bucks over this biennium.

Farmers Market Fund program director Molly Notarianni says the program's ability to make healthy food affordable has had a big impact on people's lives.

"I had one person who was able to go off insulin,” says Notarianni. “And another comment is that people really get a lot out of the community environment at the farmers market. You know, they say, 'I'm treated with dignity at the farmers market, which isn't always the case.'"

More than 600,000 Oregonians receive SNAP benefits, more than a third of whom are children. However, the program currently operates in only about half the farmers markets in the state.

Spencer Masterson, associate director of partnerships and programs with Oregon Food Bank, says the additional funding will help his and other organizations expand the program, and also fund a pilot in grocery stores for parts of the state without access to farmers markets.

Masterson calls Double Up Food Bucks a "triple win" for participants, farmers and local economies. He notes how farmers markets help local communities.

"We know that farmers markets draw people into downtown corridors and then, they end up going shopping at local businesses more,” says Masterson. “And we know that those business owners tend to buy other goods from their community."

Even though it's been more than a decade since the Great Recession, Masterson says folks in Oregon still are recovering. One in eight Oregonians is considered food insecure, meaning they lack reliable access to affordable, nutritious food.

Disclosure: Oregon Food Bank contributes to our fund for reporting on Hunger/Food/Nutrition. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR