Field & Fork Network, a New York State nonprofit that connects communities to innovative solutions that foster a sustainable food system, and, Grocerist, which makes e-commerce profitable for grocers with the first and only grocery-specific e-commerce solution built on Shopify, announced today that they have partnered to make New York non-profit The Hub on the Hill the first grocer in the nation to roll out an automated online solution for Double Up Food Bucks NY. Double Up Food Bucks NY helps SNAP recipients stretch their benefits by matching SNAP dollars spent on fresh fruits and vegetables, doubling their impact. The program is available in 25 states, and this is the first automated, scalable solution that other grocers can leverage to make local healthy foods more affordable and accessible.
“Food prices are escalating rapidly, and the Double Up Food Bucks program is a fantastic resource for increasing SNAP recipients’ access to fresh, healthy foods,” said Jeff Anders, Co-founder and CEO of Grocerist. “We’re proud to be working with Field & Fork Network on this important project, which provides a national model for how to implement nutrition incentives and SNAP together online.”
The Hub on the Hill (the Hub) is known for applying innovative technology to benefit its customers. In January, the Hub worked with Grocerist and partner Forage to become the first food hub in the nation to accept SNAP EBT payments online. Now, SNAP recipients shopping online at the Hub will see Double Up Food Bucks NY automatically applied to their online account for their produce purchases -immediately redeemable for discounts on any future produce purchases.
Food insecurity rates across the North Country, which encompasses a geographically large and rural part of the state, are around 13%; significantly higher than the statewide rate of 9.6%, and accessing fresh food is even harder in rural communities where there may not be a grocery store for 30 miles. “When we launched SNAP Online, we knew that was just the first step,” said Lindsay Willemain, Executive Director of The Hub on the Hill. “Getting Double Up Food Bucks NY online was an obvious next one and being able to use this incentive-and take advantage of the Hub’s home delivery service-will help make fresh foods accessible and affordable. With the end of SNAP emergency allotments, it feels even more important to have this incentive available to our customers now.”
“Healthy food incentive programs like Double Up Food Bucks NY are great for families, grocers and our local communities,” said Lisa French, Co-founder and Executive Director of Field & Fork Network. “When families save money on food, they can use it for other needs. These reinvestments in communities also help our local economies. We’re excited to roll this out with The Hub on the Hill and Grocerist, because e-commerce is becoming an important avenue for increasing access to healthy food in our communities.”
“The needs of poor and working people have historically been left out of the local food movement. For the Hub to realize its mission to support and strengthen the local food system here in the North Country, it must consider the needs of everyone involved in that food system—consumers and producers alike. Programs like the Double Up match program area powerful way to achieve this. People using SNAP are able to stretch their benefits twice as far on fruits and vegetables while the farmers who grew them are still making the full amount. This makes a real difference in this moment of increased food prices, increased costs of production, and the simultaneous decrease in SNAP allowances,” said a Hub Customer and SNAP Shopper.
Grocerist and Field & Fork Network are already actively working to identify other New York grocers for similar projects, helping them implement both SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks programs online.
The National Grocers Association Foundation Technical Assistance Center (NGAF TA Center), a partner of the Nutrition Incentive Hub, provided technical assistance services for this project. “While nutrition incentive programs are beneficial to customers and local communities, they are advantageous to the stores operating them as well, but independent grocers don’t always have the resources required to extend these programs online,” said Josh Anderegg, project director for the NGAF TA Center. “The food distribution system is incredibly complex, however, working together, such as in the case with Grocerist, Field & Fork Network, and Hub on the Hill,to provide an automated model can help to make important incentive programs easy and scalable for customers and retailers to participate in across the nation.”
“This innovative collaboration is making it easier for New Yorkers to access fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables while increasing the purchasing power of their SNAP benefits,” said Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz. “We are grateful to Field & Fork Network, Hub on the Hill, and Grocerist for making this happen and look forward to this model being replicated across the state as it can benefit additional SNAP recipients, retailers and communities.”
“The partnership between Field & Fork Network, Hub on the Hill, and Grocerist is an exciting innovation that makes locally grown fruits and vegetables more affordable through the Double Up Food Bucks program and more accessible by offering online SNAP purchasing and home delivery to low-income residents in rural communities,” said Erica Raml, Director of Technical Assistance & Innovation, Nutrition Incentive Hub.
All SNAP recipients are eligible for the Double Up Food Bucks NY program -to learn more, visit www.doubleupnys.com.
About Hub on the Hill
The Hub on the Hill is a nonprofit food hub working to strengthen local supply chains, expand access to nutritious, local food and create regenerative systems in order to support the land and people that help sustain us all. The Hub delivers farm fresh, local food to the doorsteps of individuals, retailers, and institutions like schools from the Canadian Border to the Capital Region every week. https://www.thehubonthehill.org/
About Double Up Food Bucks NY
Double Up Food Bucks is a nationwide nutrition incentive model, administered by Field & Fork Network, servicing millions of low-income SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) users with a dollar-for-dollar match to increase affordability and access to fresh healthy foods at farmers markets, CSAs, farm stands, mobile markets, and grocery stores. In New York State, Double Up has contributed to 5.2 million pounds of healthy food sales to over 100,000 customers, at more than 220 sites spanning 29 counties. To learn more about Double Up Food Bucks and a complete list of participating sites, please visit the program website and social media sites, or call 1-800-682-5016. www.doubleupnys.com
About National Grocers Association Foundation Technical Assistance Center
The NGA Foundation is the 501(c)3 nonprofit arm of the National Grocers Association. The Foundation provides independent retailers with tools to develop more effective recruiting programs, enhance retention efforts and bolster professional leadership development opportunities for employers. One program of NGAF is the grant funded Technical Assistance Center which provides education and resources on nutrition incentive projects, particularly those funded through the USDA Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP). For more information, visit www.ngafoundation.org.
About Field & Fork Network
Field & Fork Network is a NYS nonprofit that connects communities to innovative solutions that foster a sustainable food system. To learn more about our work please visit our website and social media sites at: www.fieldandforknetwork.com
Grocerist makes e-commerce profitable for grocers, with the first and only grocery-specific e-commerce solution built on Shopify, the world’s largest e-commerce platform. Grocerist gives merchants an e-commerce store at their own URL with all the functionality offered by their largest competitors, pick/pack technology that reduces store operating costs, a national delivery partner, control over pickup/delivery fees, low credit-card processing fees, white-glove guidance through the online SNAP application, and ongoing email, search and social media marketing support. Grocerist’s mission is to help the independent grocer use online to drive profit -both online and in-store. Learn more at www.grocerist.com.