SDSU Extension is piloting a program that encourages low-income families to buy fresh produce at local farmer’s markets. The program is called Double Up Dakota Bucks. For every dollar spent at the Lake Andes farmer’s market with an EBT card, the program adds an additional dollar up to ten dollars to spend on locally sourced fruits and veggies.
Jenn Folliard is a Family and Community Health Field Specialist with SDSU Extension. She says this program can help families stretch their SNAP benefits while also helping them purchase healthier food options. She says affordability and access are the two most common barriers to healthy foods for low-income families.
But that’s not the only potential benefit. Folliard points to data from a similar program that’s existed in Michigan for about ten years.
“A great stat that they have looked at is that for every dollar spent at a farmer’s market, it’s got an economic multiplying effect within that local community," she explains. "It’s actually like spending $2.80 in that market. So you’re keeping local dollars in the community, you’re supporting local farmers and local farmer’s markets, and you’re giving families access potentially to a market they just didn’t have.”
This one-year pilot program is funded by a grant from the US Department of Agriculture. The Lake Andes farmer’s market is the only participant in the state for now, but Folliard hopes a successful pilot year will help the program expand.
The Lake Andes Farmer’s Market is every Tuesday evening from 4 -6pm through the end of August.
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