On Saturday, August 19, Srs. Judith Bell, Marge O’Gorman, and Irma Kennebeck enjoyed a Double Up Food Bucks funder site tour in Ferguson, Missouri. Noah Fulmer and Brian DeSmet of Fair Food Network welcomed them and gave an overview of how the Double Up Food Bucks program works in the St. Louis region.
Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) has three objectives:
- Increase access to fresh vegetables and fruits for SNAP (food stamp) recipients
- Support local farmers growing vegetables and fruits
- Support the local economy
How DUFB Works in Grocery Stores
Joanie Taylor, director of consumer affairs and community relations for Schnuck’s stores, shared Schnuck’s commitment—as well as her own—to the program, and provided a tour through the Ferguson Schnuck’s store to show the signage and how the program works.
- In the produce department, the customer looks for locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables.
- When the customer purchases locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables with his or her electronic benefits transfer card (EBT—as with food stamps), the amount he or she spends on those items—up to $25 per day—is tracked on his or her store rewards or online coupon account as “earned” Double Up Food Bucks.
- The next time that customer shops at the store, he or she can spend the “earned” Bucks to buy ANY fresh fruits or vegetables.
How DUFB Works at Farmers Markets
Upon leaving Schnuck’s, the sisters walked about three blocks down to the Ferguson Farmers Market, a community gathering place that was in full swing that Saturday morning. Molly Rockamann of EarthDance Farms met the sisters; EarthDance Farms offers produce at the market as well as free trolley rides to and tours of EarthDance Organic Farm School.
Here’s how the program works at farmers markets.
- Using his or her EBT card, the customer buys SNAP tokens at the market booth that has an EBT machine. Customer cans use these SNAP tokens to purchase any SNAP-eligible items.
- The customer receives a matching number of Double Up Food Bucks tokens (up to $25 per day) that can be used to buy any fresh vegetables or fruits.
- The customer then shops with his or her tokens.
Why FSM Is Involved with DUFB
While food is crucial for human life, one in three people worldwide experiences malnutrition—starvation, micronutrient deficiency (poor nutrition that fails to provide basic vitamins and minerals humans need to thrive), and/or obesity. The world wastes 1.3 billion tons of food every year—a third of all the food produced.
The environmental impact of food production is huge; the food industry is the largest emitter of carbon dioxide globally, producing a third of all emissions.
We are all part of the problem, and we are all a part of the solution. Farmers, companies, governments, mayors, individuals, chefs—all have roles to play in finding ways to improve the ways food is grown, processed, and consumed so all people can enjoy the nutritious food they need to be healthy and happy.
On a corporate level, FSM is doing its part by funding such efforts as Fair Food Network and Double Up Food Bucks, the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition, and other agroecology projects working toward accessible and sustainable food sources.
How Can We Personally Make a Difference?
- Be aware of where your food comes from; when possible, buy locally.
- Don’t waste—cook or take only what you can eat.
- Watch your carbon footprint!
- Be aware of the 1.3 million people needing food:
- connect with them through your compassion, and
- advocate for them as you are able.
Today, government funding is being cut for the environment and for social services that assist with food’s being affordable and accessible. Vote for people who support the common good with respect to food availability.