The Tillamook Farmers Market was awarded a $1,000 grant from the Rosemarie Sweet Fund through the Farmers Market Fund of Portland to support Food Root’s Double up Food Bucks program.
The Double up Food Bucks (DUFB) program helps customers using SNAP benefits increase their dollars for fresh fruits and vegetables. SNAP Customers can receive a dollar-for-dollar cash match up to $10 each market day through DUFB, which was branded in 2016 and continued in 2017 with support from the Farmers Market Fund, Food Roots of Tillamook County, and other funders.
“We saw an increase in fruits and vegetable purchase through both SNAP and Double up Food Bucks dollars spent at all four markets in Tillamook County,” said Lauren Sorg, the Executive Director of Food Roots. “This program benefits our entire community; it makes fresh, locally grown produce more affordable for our low-income community members, while also increasing sales for our local farmers.”
However, after only two years DUFB was defunded by the Farmers Market Fund’s USDA grant, leaving farmers markets across the state with the decision of whether or not they would continue to offer a SNAP match program. Food Roots made the commitment to fundraise for each of the Tillamook County Farmers Markets, and raised over $1,000 for the Tillamook Farmers Market to continue its DUFB program.
“Our vision at Food Roots is to foster a strong food system in Tillamook County so that everyone is able to eat local food and have the resources they need to eat well,” Sorg said. “We feel it serves our mission well to continue to offer the full match to SNAP recipients at our local farmers markets.”
Food Roots also supported the market in applying for the Rosemarie Sweet Fund grant – a small pool of money that was available to Oregon Farmers Markets who were interested in continuing their SNAP match programs.
“We are very fortunate to have this partnership with Food Roots,” said Sayde Moser-Walker, the Tillamook Farmers Market Manager. “This is the Market’s first season without the funding for the Double up Food Bucks Program, and as the largest farmers market in the county we serve a lot of lower-income families whose ability to access healthy foods would decrease significantly.”
Over the course of the 2017 season, more than 200 SNAP customers at Tillamook Farmers Market purchased nearly $4,500 in local produce. Walker said that thanks to Food Roots, the Rosemarie Sweet Fund grant, and additional fundraising efforts, the Tillamook Farmers Market will continue to offer a dollar-for-dollar cash match up to $10 each market day per SNAP customer in 2018.
“We want this program to be sustainable and available every market season, and we will continue to fundraise and find donors who feel passionately about making sure everyone in our community keeps their access to fresh, locally-grown foods and supporting local farmers,” Walker said.
Double Up Food Bucks dollars can be used on fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, dried beans, nuts, and vegetable starts. They are accepted at any booth that accepts SNAP as a form of payment.
For more information, visit www.tillamookfarmersmarket.com