Frequently Asked Questions

All about Double Up Food Bucks

These questions refer to Fair Food Network’s Michigan program. If you have questions about Double Up Food Bucks programs in other states, email us and we’ll connect you to the right answers.

 

General Questions

What is Double Up Food Bucks? Fair Food Network’s Double Up Food Bucks program doubles the value of federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps) benefits spent at participating farmers markets and grocery stores, helping people bring home more fruits and vegetables, while also supporting local farmers. 

How does Double Up work? Double Up provides SNAP recipients with a one-to-one match to buy healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables when they use their Bridge Card at participating locations.

Who qualifies for Double Up? It’s easy! Anyone receiving SNAP benefits is automatically eligible: if you have a SNAP Bridge Card, you can use this program.

What can you buy with Double Up Food Bucks? At the farmers market, Double Up Food Bucks can only be used to purchase Michigan grown fruits and vegetables. At the grocery store, Double Up Food Bucks can be used to purchase any fresh fruits and vegetables. Check out the How It Works page for more information. 

How do people sign up? 

At farmers markets: Before shopping, SNAP customers should go to the market office or information booth, where market staff can help you get started.

At grocery stores: Cashiers automatically provide SNAP customers with Double Up Food Bucks when they buy any fresh fruits and vegetables. These Double Up dollars can then be spent on any fresh fruits and vegetables.

How do I find participating locations in Michigan? The program is at more than 200 locations statewide! Find a location on our online map or call us 866.586.2796 to find a participating site near you. You can also download a complete list of participating sites or see markets in regional flyers.

What if there are no participating Double Up sites in my area? Call us at 866.586.2796 to let us know you want Double Up in your area! For a complete list of farmers markets that accept SNAP Bridge Cards or other food assistance programs, visit Michigan Farmers Market Association.

When does the program run? Double Up Food Bucks begins at Michigan Farmers’ Markets from April 1st, for the duration of the market season.  The Michigan grocery store program begins August 1st and operates year-round. Bridge Card customers can use the program every day that participating locations are open during the Double Up program season.

Visit the Locations page to find a location near you. 

Does Double Up Food Bucks match WIC? No, WIC purchases are not eligible for matching Double Up Food Bucks dollars.

What if I do not have SNAP (food stamps) or a Bridge Card? Visit the MIBridges site or call 1.855.ASK.MICH for information about application qualifications.

What if I need immediate food help? Dial 211 (United Way’s hotline) to get information about emergency food relief options and other services in your area.

How did Double Up Food Bucks get started? National nonprofit Fair Food Network launched Double Up Food Bucks as a six-week pilot in five farmers markets in Detroit in 2009. Since then, the program has grown to more than 200 sites across Michigan, including farmers markets, grocery stores, CSAs, food share programs, mobile food trucks, and farm stands.

The pilot program in grocery stores began in 2013 – one of the first in the nation to bring incentives to this setting. Now, over 50 grocery stores across Michigan participate in the program.

Fair Food Network has now translated the Double Up program into a toolkit and is working with partners from Arizona to Utah and Oklahoma to bring this innovative model to their communities. Read our five-year report to learn more!

Can I start a Double Up program in my community if I live outside Michigan? Yes! We have translated the Double Up program into a toolkit for groups interested in launching this healthy food incentive program in their community. The Fair Food Network team can work with you to assess starting a program in your region, share the tools and templates needed to get it off the ground, and help identify funding opportunities. Email us to learn more.

 

 Shopping at the Farmers Market 

How does Double Up Food Bucks work at farmers markets? For every $2 of SNAP benefits (food stamps) customers spend at participating farmers markets, customers get $2 of free Double Up Food Bucks to spend on any Michigan grown fruits and vegetables – up to $20 per day the market is open. Bridge Card benefits can be spent on any SNAP-eligible items at the farmers market including fruits, vegetables, bread, eggs, and meat.

When can I use Double Up Food Bucks at my farmers market? SNAP customers can use the program every day that participating locations are open during the Double Up Food Bucks program season, which runs from June 1–October 31 in most locations.

How do I find out whether there is a participating farmers market near me? Double Up Food Bucks is available at over 150 farmers markets across Michigan! Find a location here.

What is the minimum amount I must spend from my Bridge Card to receive Double Up Food Bucks? At farmers markets that use silver Double Up Food Bucks tokens, you must spend a minimum of $2 in SNAP benefits in order to receive the matching $2 in free Double Up Food Bucks (each silver Double Up token is worth $2). The Flint Farmers Market uses an electronic system. Here your SNAP purchases are matched dollar-for-dollar with Double Up Food Bucks and there is no minimum required amount to spend.

Is there a limit on how much I can spend from my SNAP Bridge Card at a farmers market? There is no limit on how much money SNAP (food stamps) customers can spend from their Bridge Card each day. However, Double Up Food Bucks only matches SNAP purchases up to $20 per market day. So if you spend $30 in SNAP benefits at the market, you will receive $20 in free Double Up Food Bucks every day the market is open throughout the Double Up season.

How do I know which vendors accept Double Up Food Bucks at the market? Most vendors that sell Michigan grown fruits and vegetables at participating Double Up farmers markets accept Double Up Food Bucks. Look for Double Up Food Bucks signs displayed at market stalls or ask vendors before making a purchase.

Does every farmers market run the Double Up program the same way? The majority of markets run the Double Up program the same way by matching what customers spend in SNAP benefits with free Double Up Food Bucks silver tokens (each worth $2). Some sites run an electronic payment system rather than tokens. This system is easy to use. Before shopping, stop by the farmers market office or information booth, where market staff can help you get started.

Where can I use the Double Up Food Bucks tokens? You can use the silver Double Up tokens at any participating farmers market in Michigan. For example, this means you could earn your Double Up Food Bucks in Detroit but spend them at a participating farmers market in northern Michigan.

What is the difference between silver Double Up Food Bucks coins and the other coins? Silver Double Up Food Bucks tokens can only be used to purchase Michigan grown fruits and vegetables with eligible vendors at participating farmers markets. The silver Double Up tokens are given to you for free at the farmers market info booth when you use your SNAP benefits (food stamps) to shop at participating farmers markets. Each silver Double Up token is worth $2 and has no cash value. The value of the silver Double Up tokens does not come off your Bridge Card. 

The Bridge Card tokens can be used to purchase any SNAP-eligible items at the market, including fruits, vegetables, bread, cheese, and meats. These coins must be spent at the same market where you received them. The value of these tokens does come off your SNAP Bridge Card.

 

Grocery Shopping at the Grocery Store 

How does Double Up Food Bucks work in grocery stores? Double Up Food Bucks works slightly different at grocery stores than at farmers markets. There are also small differences between participating grocery stores.

  • At all participating grocery stores: We’ll match what you spend. For every $1 you spend on fresh fruits and vegetables, you will earn $1 in Double Up to buy additional fresh fruits and vegetables in the same grocery store.
  • There are a few different ways the program works in grocery locations: 
  1. Whole Foods Market in Detroit: When you use your Bridge Card to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at Whole Foods Market in Detroit, you get a gift certificate with matching Double Up Food Bucks (in $5 increments) to spend on ANY produce at that store. So if you buy $5.60 of fresh cherries at Whole Food Market in Detroit, you would get a free $5 gift certificate that you can use at the store to buy more fresh produce. OR you can also bring the gift certificate to nearby Eastern Market and cash it in for Double Up Food Bucks tokens which can be spent on Michigan grown fruits or vegetables. These tokens can also be spent at other participating Double Up farmers markets in the state.
  2. Coupon: At these stores when you buy fresh fruits and vegetables with your Bridge Card, you get a coupon at check out with the same amount you spent. This coupon has free matching Double Up Food Bucks to spend on fresh produce at that store.
  3.  Loyalty card: At Family Fare stores, when you buy fresh fruits and vegetables with your Bridge Card and swipe your store loyalty card at the register, you receive matching Double Up points, which are stored on your loyalty card and can be used the next day on fresh fruits and vegetables at that store.
  4. Duthler’s (Grand Rapids), Plumb’s (Muskegon & Newaygo Counties) & Parkway Foods (Detroit): At these stores, if you buy fresh fruits and vegetables, you receive an automatic half-off discount at check out. 

How do I know which products will earn Double Up? Double Up Food Bucks can be earned by buying any fresh fruits and vegetables with your SNAP (food stamps) Bridge Card. Look for signs and stickers in the produce section with the Double Up logo. You can also read the label on the packaging or ask grocery store staff for help.

How do I know which products I can purchase with Double Up in the grocery store? Double Up Food Bucks can be spent on any fresh fruits and vegetables in the same store where you earned Double Up.

How can I find out whether there is a participating grocery store near me? The program is expanding to over 50 grocery stores in Michigan in 2017. Find a location on our online map or call us at 866.586.2796. We are also working on a downloadable list of all participating locations. Stay tuned!

When can I use Double Up at the grocery store? Double Up at grocery stores is a YEAR-ROUND PROGRAM BEGINNING AUGUST 1ST 2017. SNAP customers can use the program every day that participating grocery stores are open.

 

 

  CommunityGet Involved and Volunteer

How can I get involved? There are many ways to get involved. We always appreciate help spreading the word and have free flyers and posters about the program. You can download them on our Resources page or complete this form to request hard copies. You can also learn about volunteer opportunities on our Get Involved page.

What is the time commitment for volunteering?

It varies, depending on the volunteer role and preferences. Please see the Get Involved page for more details.

Do you reimburse volunteers for mileage, meals, and other materials?

All materials needed while directly carrying out the volunteer role will be provided. Though some events will provide a meal for all participants, Fair Food Network does not reimburse volunteers for the mileage or meals during the time they are helping.

Are the volunteer opportunities available for Curriculum-Based/School Community Service?

We may be able to accommodate students, but advanced approval must occur. All necessary information and/or documentation from the instructor or project supervisor indicating the educational goals must be included with the volunteer application.

Are the volunteer opportunities available for court-ordered community Service?

No. At this time, the Double Up Volunteer Network cannot accommodate court-ordered community service.

Are there volunteer opportunities available for minors?

No. At this time, the Double Up Volunteer Network cannot accommodate volunteers under 18 years of age.

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