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Low-income families can double their money by buying local produce at Schnucks

Low-income families can double their money by buying local produce at Schnucks

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Low-income Missourians can double their government assistance dollars if they buy local produce at Schnucks, starting immediately.

Double Up Food Bucks doubles the value of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program purchases when the funds are spent on locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables.

The program is billed as a national model for healthful food incentives that encourages low-income families to choose fresh foods and support local growers.

Through a partnership with Fair Food Network and a grant from the Mid-America Regional Council, Schnucks will offer Double Up Food Bucks at all of its 56 Missouri locations. The program starts immediately and runs as long as local produce is available.

Schnucks matches up to $25 per day that recipients can use for their next purchase of any fresh fruits and vegetables (these do not have to be local) at that or any other Schnucks store in Missouri.

Virtual dollars are stored in a Schnucks Double Up Food Bucks account that is electronically accessed with the customer’s phone number.

The program officially launches Tuesday at the new Schnucks in Ferguson, 49 North Florissant Road, during scheduled activities from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Schnucks will provide cooking demonstrations, a shopping tour of healthful, budget-friendly food , and nutrition advice.

The initial Double Up Food Bucks purchase must be locally grown produce, which will be identified with in-store signage, according to Joanie Taylor, Schnucks director of community relations.

The local produce season peaks in July.

Noah Fulmer, program director for Double Up Food Bucks, said in a statement, “Double Up is a win-win-win. Local families bring home and eat more healthy foods, local farmers sell more produce, and the local economy benefits from more money staying in the community.”

To participate in Double Up Food Bucks, SNAP EBT (electronic benefit transfer) customers can sign up at schnucks.com/dufb or visit any Schnucks Missouri store.

So far, Schnucks is the only grocer in the St. Louis region identified as participating in the program, but some farmers markets are also doubling dollars.

The participating farmers markets include:

• North City Farmers’ Market, 2700 North 13th Street

• St. Louis MetroMarket (a mobile market), 1421 Jefferson Avenue

• City Greens, 4260 Manchester Avenue

• Tower Grove Farmers’ Market, 1618 Tower Grove Avenue

• Midtown Farmers Market, 6655 Delmar Boulevard

• Thies Farm and Greenhouses, 4215 North Hanley Road

• St. Louis MetroMarket (mobile market), 10266 West Florissant Avenue

• Ferguson Farmers Market, 20 South Florissant Road

• Seeds of Hope Farm, 12127 Bellefontaine Road

• Lake St. Louis Farmers & Artists Market, 20 Meadows Circle Drive, Lake St. Louis

• DeSoto Farmers Market, 520 North Main Street, Desoto

In addition to Fair Food Network and the Mid-America Regional Council, other partners include the East West Gateway Council of Governments, Good Natured Family Farms, University of Kansas Medical Center, St. Louis University and the United Way of Greater St. Louis.

For more information, visit doubleupheartland.org.

Debra D. Bass • 314-340-8236

@debrabass on Twitter

dbass@post-dispatch.com

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