CARBONDALE — The Downtown Community Farmers Market is making local food more accessible through a program called Double Up Food Bucks that doubles the value of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, formerly known as food stamps, to spend on fresh, locally grown produce.
“It’s a win-win-win situation,” Angie Kuehl, Plan4Health educator with Jackson County Health Department, said. “It’s a win for the SNAP shoppers, who see their food dollars go farther. It’s a win for farmers who sell more products, and it’s a win for the community when people are both eating fruits and vegetables and shopping local.”
Participating in Double Up Food Bucks is easy. Shoppers take their Illinois LINK card to the market information table, swipe their card using an electronic card reader, and receive tokens to spend on fresh local food. The Double Up Food Bucks program means that SNAP shoppers receive double the amount in tokens, with up to $20 in SNAP benefits being matched through this special incentive program.
For example, a family that spends $10 in SNAP benefits at the Downtown Community Farmers Market receives an additional $10 in Double Up Food Bucks, giving the family $20 of tokens to spend at the farmers market.
Double Up Food Bucks program began in April when the Downtown Community Farmers Market opened. The program will run through the end of October. It is currently only offered at the Downtown Community Farmers Market, 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays on the 200 block of North Washington Street between Jackson and Oak streets.
Funding for Double Up Food Bucks is made possible through community sponsorships, including a contribution from the Jackson County Plan4Health initiative, led by the City of Carbondale and the Jackson County Health Department.