Wellness Wednesday: Local Produce Makes a Difference for Low Income Families

by Kellie Cochrane

Randi Dale and her daughter, Cheyenne Ruddock, 15, of Battle Creek buy produce using Double Up Food Bucks
Photo Credit: Battle Creek Enquirer

I love a trip to the Farmers Market.  I love fruit, I love veggies and I love an excuse to walk around and enjoy the summer.  And of course, it certainly feels great to support our locally grown products.    Now, the Battle Creek Enquirer has given me yet another reason to love Farmers Markets: increased access to healthy, local food.

Battle Creek has stepped up to participate in the Double Up Food Bucks Program which allows low income families who rely on the assistance of Bridge Cards or other food assistance programs to receive tokens to be used at the Farmers Market.  These tokens literally double their dollars all the way up to a $20 dollar value for Michigan produce.

Participants claim this program has really impacted the way they shop, allowing them to choose foods that are both nutritious and delicious.  Vendors see the difference too, one estimates that the DUFB shoppers are 40% of their revenue.  This program creates amazing change on both sides: families gain access to produce they might not otherwise be able to get and vendors benefit from increased revenue and more shoppers at the market.

The Double Up Food Bucks Program is an initiative allowing for positive change for the health of our community and stimulating economic growth.  Kalamazoo Farmers Market also accepts EBT and WIC benefits and offers a Project Fresh program.  So, brave the heat and plan a trip to your local Farmer’s Market because the products aren’t the only good that is happening there.