State investment assists growth of Double Up Food Bucks

State investment assists growth of Double Up Food Bucks

Brianna Durkee, left, New York State Government Relations Director at the American Heart Association, speaks at Hawthorne Valley Farm Store in Ghent on July 17. New York State Senator Michelle Hinchey, right, championed funding for Double Up Food Bucks, a SNAP incentive program.

The American Heart Association joined Field & Fork Network, a food and farming nonprofit, on July 17 in announcing bipartisan support for a $2 million State appropriation that will help expand its Double Up Food Bucks NY program. Double Up is a vital program that increases food access by connecting New York farmers, grocers, and residents who use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The program helps people using SNAP, purchase more local fresh fruits and vegetables through a dollar-for-dollar match, up to $20 a day. Field & Fork Network worked closely with Senator Michelle Hinchey to secure the appropriation.

“We are grateful to Senator Michelle Hinchey for championing this issue and recognizing the critical role Double Up Food Bucks NY plays in combatting food insecurity,” said Lisa French, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Field & Fork Network. “This funding is a direct investment in New York families, farmers and the local economy, and it will allow us to bring additional federal funding to New York through the USDA’s GusNIP program. ”

Double Up Food Bucks NY has 230+ locations across New York State, it operates in grocery stores, farmers markets, farm stands, mobile markets, and corner stores across 32 counties. This year the program has greatly expanded its reach in Columbia County; adding 4 new grocery locations including, Hawthorne Valley Farm Store, Chatham Real Food Market, Philmont Co-op, and Random Harvest. The program has operate at Rolling Grocer 19 since 2020.

“Every person, no matter their income or where they live, deserves to eat nutritious food, and the Double Up Food Bucks program helps people afford the locally grown food they need to support their family’s growth and development and create a healthy foundation at home,” said Senator Michelle Hinchey. “Columbia County is an agriculture community, and with a homegrown food supply as incredible as ours, farm-fresh food should be accessible to everyone, which is why I’m proud to help champion the Double Up program to expand food access while also investing money back into our local farms. I thank Field & Fork Network for leading the way with this model and will continue fighting for investments that will help us connect the dots between locally grown food and families in need.”

“The Double Up Food Bucks Program is a win-win for New York State, feeding our families healthy food while supporting local farms and independent grocery stores. Small and mid-sized farms are the backbones of our communities in the Hudson Valley, and expanding this program has helped connect more families with fresh, nutritious produce from local producers like Hawthorne Valley Farm,” said Assemblymember Didi Barrett. “I was proud to fight for funding for this program in the state budget with Sen. Hinchey, and thank Field and Fork Network for their leadership.”

DUFBNY aims to alleviate food insecurity and promote healthy eating by doubling the value of SNAP dollars spent at participating farmers markets, grocery stores, and other retail outlets. SNAP customers can receive up to $20 in DUFBNY per day to purchase fresh produce, providing them with access to more nutritious food options and supporting local farmers. The program is free to participate in, the money never expires, and can be banked for future purchases.

“With the rising cost of food, we recognize that it is more important than ever that people continue to have access to quality produce for their families,” says Jeremy Laurange, Hawthorne Valley Director of Retail. “We are thrilled to partner with Double Up Food Bucks to help families bridge the gap of affordability when it comes to fresh, healthy foods.”
“A healthy diet is the cornerstone of good heart and brain health, and the American Heart Association knows that the $2 million funding for the Double Up Food Bucks program will help many families live healthier lives,” said Alex DiCicco, Academic Quality Analyst, Johnson & Wales University and chair of the Hudson Valley Board of Directors for the American Heart Association. “We also welcome Hawthorne Valley to the retailers accepting Double Up Food Bucks in New York. Summer is a wonderful time to really enjoy New Yorks’s fresh produce, and we are glad that more people will be able to reap the health benefits that Double Up will provide.”

Customers interested in enrolling in the program should speak to a cashier at the register. For more information about Double Up Food Bucks NY, including a list of participating locations, visit Hawthorne Valley Farm Store is located at 327 CR 21C, Ghent, NY, and is open daily from 7:30am-7pm. Learn more at Double Up is also available locally year-round at Rolling Grocer 19, Philmont Cooperative, Chatham Real Food Market and Random Harvest.