Nutrient-rich foods tend to be more expensive, which means families living on low incomes often struggle to afford them. Many households facing food insecurity must purchase cheaper and less nutritious items to avoid running out of money between paychecks, which has a long-term impact on their health.
The Fair Food Network (FFN) is on a mission to increase healthy food accessibility in underserved communities across the United States. By offering a Double Up Food Bucks incentive program to families, as well as assistance for local farmers and entrepreneurs through its Fair Food Fund, the network is working to ensure all families can afford healthy produce.
With the Double Up [program], knowing that there’s more I can do with those dollars, I do go to the farmers market more often than I would have.Miroslava Mandujano, Double Up Food Bucks Participant
How it Helps
Approximately 43 million people rely on the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as of July 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But with less than $5 per day in assistance per recipient, families face challenges affording healthy options from retailers. To help these SNAP benefits go further and support other USDA Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives (FINI), FFN invests in three key areas.
- Increasing consumer purchasing of healthy food in retail settings: The Double Up Bucks program matches SNAP dollars on fruits and vegetables to incentivize spending on healthier foods. In addition to helping families get the nutrition they need, the program benefits farmers and boosts local economies.
- Delivering efficient technical assistance to the healthy incentive program: FFN co-leads a centralized Nutrition Incentives Hub that provides partners and practitioners with access to opportunities for collaboration, tools, and expertise to help them overcome common challenges. This helps the organization serve more partners and reach a larger number of SNAP households without increasing overhead. One example is the hub’s efforts to advance point-of-sale technology solutions to provide a more user-friendly experience for both retailers and SNAP recipients.
- Investing in entrepreneurs who are growing community health and wealth through food: The network’s Fair Food Fund provides catalytic capital and business assistance to entrepreneurs who are making an impact on food systems and the communities they serve. This includes increasing healthy food access, supporting family farms, creating new jobs, and more.
Research shows that when families receive healthy food incentives, they’re eager to spend those dollars on nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables — an investment that stays in the local economy. By increasing support up and down the supply chain, from farmers to consumers, FFN is removing barriers to food access and helping underserved communities thrive.