The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHSS) and Michigan Farmers Market Association are reminding those who receive food-assistance benefits that they have an option to buy fresh food at a local farmer’s market while maximizing their purchasing power at the same time.
Of Michigan farmers markets and farm stands, 144 that accept Bridge Cards also participate in the Fair Food Network’s Double Up Food Bucks. The program allows Bridge Card holders to get double the money for fruits and vegetables: a dollar for dollar match up to $20 every market day.
For example, a family that spends $10 in food-assistance benefits at a participating farmers market gets $10 in Double Up Food Bucks to purchase more locally grown produce.
“The positive impact that food assistance programs have on farmers markets is immense. It becomes not just a win for the client but also for the farmers market and vendors selling at a market,” said Joe Lesausky, food access manager at the Michigan Farmers Market Association. “Every year, I continue to see new market managers reaching out and asking how they can start accepting bridge cards.”
To find a market that accepts Bridge Cards, visit the Michigan Farmer’s Market Association Find a Farm Market feature online at www.mifma.org/findafarmersmarket. Search based on food assistance benefits for Double Up Food Bucks to find out which Farmers Markets participate in the program.
Temporary food assistance for eligible low-income families and individuals are available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and is referred to as the Food Assistance Program in Michigan. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/FoodAssistance.
“It’s important to MDHSS to make available healthy options at an affordable price for Michiganders who receive food assistance benefits to feed their families,” said Terry Beurer, MDHHS deputy director for field operation administration. “Michigan’s farmers markets provide nutritional food and Double Up Food Bucks allows them to buy more food with their benefits.”