Double Up Food Bucks helps low-income Iowans buy fresh fruits and vegetables

August 4, 2017

courtney longby Courtney Long
Design Fellow

The Iowa Healthiest State Initiative and several communities across Iowa have been working diligently to bring the Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) program to our state. According to the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative website, Iowa ranks 50th in the nation for fruit and vegetable consumption, and more than 380,000 Iowans rely on food assistance programs.

What is DUFB?

Double Up matches the value of SNAP (the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program, formerly known as food stamps) when spent on fruits and vegetables with a financial benefit to local growers. The program began in five Detroit farmers markets in 2009, and has become a national model for SNAP incentives. Double Up programs are now being implemented by local partners in more than 20 states.

The Double Up Food Bucks Incentive Program makes it easier for low-income Iowans to eat fresh fruits and vegetables while supporting family farmers and growing local economies. ~ Iowa Healthiest State Initiative website

Double Up Food Bucks radishes
Fair Food Network photo.

The goal of the DUFB program is to assist in generating opportunities for low-resource Iowans to access healthy fruits and vegetables. This program also incorporates community economic development potentials by linking with local farmers markets in supporting communities, which in turns keeps funds in our communities and supports our local farmers. There are currently nine counties in Iowa offering DUFB, and we hope to continue growing the effort!

Double Up Food Bucks began in six Iowa farmers markets in 2016 and is now active at 13 sites including farmers markets, farm stands and mobile markets across Iowa. In 2016, the program reached 1,000 SNAP recipients resulting in more than $25,000 worth of fresh fruits and vegetables purchased from Iowa family famers. 2016 program evaluation found that 94 percent of SNAP shoppers reported eating more fruits and vegetables; 74 percent of farmers reported making more money because of Double Up. Under the leadership of Iowa Healthiest State Initiative, Double Up continues to grow with plans to expand to more farmers markets as well as farm stands, corner stores, and grocery stores.~ Double Up Food Bucks website

Get involved

There are many ways to get involved, including:

  • Volunteering at markets
  • Signing up as a DUFB vendor
  • Signing up as a DUFB market
  • Participating in the Iowa DUFB stakeholder meeting
  • General interest and shopping at our local farmers markets

Our Community Food Systems Program and the ISU Community Design Lab recently had the opportunity to collaborate with the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative, Iowa State University SNAP-ED, Dubuque Farmers Market, Global Greens Farmers Market, and numerous farmers and consumers to create an Iowa DUFB video! You can catch the footage here: