Idaho farmer’s markets are using Double Up Food Bucks again this year.
According to the Idaho Farmer’s Market Association, Double Up Food Bucks helps people using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, previously food stamps) purchase healthy, locally-grown produce.
“Double Up Food Bucks began at Idaho farmer’s markets in 2016 as a way to increase access to and affordability of fresh fruits and vegetables for low-income families,” states the IFMA’s website.
Jamie Ashcraft, who sells produce at the Rexburg farmer’s market, said she helped bring Double Up to Rexburg.
Ashcraft said her stall has done EBT for a while, but after she got an email about Double Up she asked for more information.
Farmer’s markets charge a little bit more, Ashcraft said, so she wanted to make them more accessible to low-income people.
Rebecca Brisolara, a freshman studying agronomy, crop and soil sciences, said the Rexburg farmer’s market does have high prices on some things, but she liked the small, community feeling behind it.
Another aim of Double Up is to “support area farmers and stimulate local economies,” according to IFMA’s website.
Both Ashcraft and the IMFA info page point out that Double Up is only valid for Idaho-grown produce.
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Ashcraft said this program will help the market in Rexburg because instead of going to cheaper grocery stores, people will use Double Up Food Bucks at the farmer’s market.
They have been advertising the program on Facebook and saw a good response on June 23.
“In 2016, low-income Idaho shoppers spent $42,710 in combined SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks to purchase fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables,” states the 2016-2017 report on Double Up, put out by IFMA and the Fair Food Network. “A market manager reported that ‘more people started believing that the market is an affordable place to buy food!’ (as a result of Double Up).”
The report also states 84 percent of farmer’s market managers said the diversity of shoppers has increased at their market, while 100 percent said more new customers have been coming since the launch of Double Up.
Those wishing to use Double Up Food Bucks should find the Market Info Booth or Food Stamp/SNAP/EBT Booth at their local farmer’s market, according to IFMA. Customers can buy $1 worth of eligible food with an EBT card and get $1 of Double Up Food Bucks, useful for any local fruits and vegetables.
The Rexburg farmer’s market meets on College Avenue every Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The market will be running until Sept. 29.
Brisolara said there are vendors selling lip balm, clothing and food. She bought crazy corn while she was there.
BYU-Idaho also has an agriculture stall with plants and some produce that can be bought using Double Up Food Bucks.
Other Idaho city farmer’s markets participating in 2017 include Boise, Ketchum, Twin Falls, Salmon and Hailey.