DETROIT – Local vendors from Eastern Market have been helping low income families buy more Michigan produce for years, thanks to Double Up Food Bucks. It's a program for bridge card holders that swaps cash for coins and matches dollar-for-dollar up to twenty bucks, so families can buy healthy and local.
"That means more fresh fruits and vegetables on the dinner table for kids and all of that money goes straight into the pockets of Michigan farmers, can't beat that," said Oran Hesterman, president of Fair Food Network.
Double Up Food Bucks started four years ago and was only available for bridge card holders when they shopped at farmers markets. But Hesterman says the program is such a win-win, Fair Food Network is making it bigger.
"We've expanded this year on a pilot basis," Hesterman said. "We're bringing the program to three grocery stores in Detroit, the first of its kind in the country."
The US Department of Agriculture approved the program for only select stores in downtown Detroit. The three grocery stores participating in Double Up Food Bucks in 2013 from July 1st - October 31st.
The stores include, Metro Foodland, Mike's Fresh on Gratiot, and Honey Bee Market.
How it works:
Step 1: Spend $10 or more on any fresh fruits and vegetables using your Bridge Card.
Step 2: Get a $10 Double Up Food Bucks Reward Card.
Step 3: Use your Double Up Food Bucks Reward Card to purchase MORE Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables
So why the expansion? Hesterman says according to a poll, Fair Food Networks learned that 85 percent of Detroiter's do their shopping at grocery stores over shopping at a freash food market and they want to make sure people know about this program and are taking fulladvantage of it.
"Radishes, beets, fresh greens and blueberries, all Michigan grown and even more affordable to Michigan families," said Hesterman.
To find the hundreds of Michigan Markets already involved in the program along with the new grocery store pilot visit: doubleupfoodbucks.org