More fresh fruit and vegetables for low income Oregonians
Astoria Co+op is first grocery store in the state to pilot Double Up Food Bucks
Shoppers using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) will soon be able to load up on more healthy fresh fruit and vegetables. In September, for every $5 spent on fresh produce using an Oregon Trail Card, Astoria Co+op will give a $5 voucher to spend on more produce; up to $10 per visit.
This is a grant-funded pilot, made possible by Oregon Food Bank, to work through the logistics of offering Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) more long-term at grocery stores. DUFB is a nutrition incentive program that matches SNAP benefits to enable shoppers to buy more fruits and vegetables.
After running at more than 60 farmers’ markets around the state from 2015 to 2018 using federal grant funding and other sources, DUFB will be expanded to select Oregon grocery stores for the first time thanks to an investment from the state. In July, the Oregon Legislature approved $1.5 million in the 2019-2021 biennium budget to continue and expand the program.
“Double Up Food Bucks has proven to be a hit among SNAP customers, farmers, and market managers, not just in Oregon, but around the country. Expanding the program to retail outlets like the co-op will further support local businesses and growers, while providing low-income community members with year-round access to quality fruits and vegetables,” said Kelly Fraser, Oregon Food Bank’s Statewide Network Developer.
Astoria Co+op will be the first grocery store to pilot Double Up Food Bucks under the program’s expansion. The co-op is a community-owned grocery store, but you don’t need to be an owner or have a membership to shop. Any beneficiary of SNAP via the Oregon Trail Card is eligible to take part in this program.
“I am excited to increase access to the unique produce offering we have at the co-op. More folks purchasing local and organic fresh fruit and veggies is a win for the entire community,” said Matt Stanley, Astoria Co+op’s General Manager.
According to Double Up Food Bucks Oregon, only 11% of Oregonians consume enough fruit and vegetables for a healthy life. For the one in six Oregonians experiencing food insecurity, eating the recommended servings of produce isn’t affordable. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of many serious and chronic conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.