Buffalo, NY: Field & Fork Network announces a significant expansion of their Double Up Food Bucks program increasing access to fresh, healthy foods forlow-income consumers across the Western NY region. Double Up Food Bucks is a SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program) incentive that matches federal food assistance benefits, $1 for $1, to increase affordability and access to fresh healthy foods. The expansion will include over 81+ new sites spanning 11 Western NY counties and will include the cities of Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Rochester, all of which far surpass the New York state average of 15.3 percent of the population living below the poverty line, ranking at 30.7, 32.9 and 24.9 percent respectively. The expansion will also diversify the program’s access points to include year-round & seasonal farmers markets, mobile markets and healthy corner stores.

In addition to expanding the number of sites where Double Up Food Bucks is available, Field & Fork Network has partnered with Applied Sciences Group (ASG) to develop and test new technologies that deliver SNAP incentives at the point-of-sale. As part of a Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive regional grant through the USDA and the National Institute of Food & Agriculture, Field & Fork Network will work with ASG, Harvest NY, and University at Buffalo to develop effective and efficient technologies for SNAP benefit and incentive redemption. The 3-year $1.2 million project will examine ways to remove barriers to healthy food access for low-income consumers, increase targeted nutrition education and provide for a more seamless transaction process for SNAP users when using their benefits for healthy food purchases.

 

“This project will allow us to break new ground in the field of SNAP incentives and how they are delivered to and redeemed by consumers. Our objective is to test new technologies in the different market venues: farmers markets, healthy corner stores and mobile markets – with the goal of streamlining the delivery of SNAP incentives to include nutrition education and other types of information that improve the overall healthy purchasing experience,”  Lisa Tucker French, Co-founder & Executive Director of Field & Fork Network.

 

The expansion of Double Up Food Bucks will also amplify its benefit to the local agriculture economy. Western NY is known for its rich agricultural production with more than 8,800 mostly small-scale farms. Double Up Food Bucks helps redirect federal food assistance dollars to those farmers who sell at farmers markets and to other food retail, ultimately strengthening our local food & agriculture economy.

For more information about Double Up Food Bucks in Western NY and a listing of participating sites, please visit www.doubleupnys.com.

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Field & Fork Network is a food & farming non-profit organization based in Western NY. The mission of the organization is to build a thriving regional food system that serves everyone. Field & Fork Network started the Double Up Food Bucks program in 2014 as a pilot in 7 local farmers markets. The program doubled the number of sites in 2015 to 15 farmers markets across 5 counties. To request a copy of the Double Up Food Bucks two-year program report please contact: fieldandforknetwork@gmail.com For more information about Field & Fork Network please visit fieldandforknetwork.com.

Applied Sciences Group (ASG), Inc. is a broad-spectrum software development company specializing in custom solutions for retail, commercial and industrial markets. ASG maintains a full-time engineering staff and provides software development, project management, analysis, testing and documentation services in regulated and non-regulated environments to a diverse client base. The company executes between 75 and 150 projects annually and includes mobile and desktop applications, industrial controls software and embedded electronics solutions.

Harvest New York is a Cornell Cooperative Extension regional team whose goal is to spur agricultural economic development in New York State. Five project areas are covered by Harvest New York Specialists: Dairy Processing and Food Safety, Local Food Distribution and Marketing, Farm-Based Beverages, Livestock Processing and Marketing, and Farm Strategic Planning. Specialists in these key areas develop educational programs that increase agricultural investments, profitability and sustainability by: maximizing connections to research and resources of Cornell University and Cornell Cooperative Extension; responding to emerging opportunities; assisting with workforce development and business expansion; and increasing the profitability of this key New York industry.

Lucia A. Leone, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Community Health and Health Behavior in the School of Public Health and Health Professions, at the University at Buffalo (UB). Margaret M. Lapp, MSLA/MPH is a Project Coordinator working with Dr. Leone. As researchers in the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior, we believe high scientific standards are critical for developing and assessing effective interventions and policies. Dr. Leone is a public health researcher with nutrition training; her research focuses on eliminating health disparities by developing multi-level behavioral interventions to improve cancer and obesity prevention behaviors (diet, exercise, and screening). The goal of our work is to understand the major food access issues in the Buffalo-Niagara region and identify resources and gaps in relation to improving food access for individuals with limited income.

 

Contact:Lisa Tucker French
716-465-5704
fieldandforknetwork@gmail.com