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 is Michigan’s statewide healthy food incentive program. This program doubles the value of federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) nutrition benefits spent at participating farmers markets and grocery stores, helping people bring home more locally grown fruits and vegetables.

How does Double Up work? Double Up provides SNAP recipients with a one-to-one match to purchase healthy, Michigan grown 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? Double Up Food Bucks can only be used to purchase Michigan grown fruits and vegetables.

How do people sign up? No sign-up is needed.

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 a SNAP eligible purchase is made. These Double Up dollars can then be spent on any Michigan grown produce.

How do I find participating locations in Michigan? The program is at more than 150 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 is a seasonal program in Michigan. In most locations, the farmers market program runs from June 1 – October 31; the grocery store program runs from August 1– December 31. Bridge Card customers can use the program every day that participating locations are open during the Double Up program season.

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 a SNAP Bridge Card? Call the Center for Civil Justice hotline at 800.481.4989 Monday through Friday for help in determining whether you may be eligible for a SNAP Bridge card; they can also support you throughout the application process. You can also 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 150 sites across Michigan, including over 120 farmers markets, two food share programs, two mobile food trucks, and a network of farm stands. A pilot program in grocery stores began in 2013 – one of the first in the nation to bring incentives to this setting. Fair Food Network has now translated 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.

 

For Farmers Market Customers

How does Double Up Food Bucks work at farmers markets? For every $2 of SNAP benefits 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, every market day. 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 120 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). Some markets in Kent County and the Flint Farmers Markets use 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 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 their SNAP benefits with free Double Up Food Bucks silver tokens (each worth $2). A few markets in the state are piloting an innovative electronic payment system rather than tokens. This includes the Flint Farmers Market and most markets in the Kent County/Grand Rapids area. Both systems are 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 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 to shop at participating farmers markets. Each silver Double Up token is worth $2 each and has no cash value. The value of the silver Double Up tokens does not come off your Bridge Card. Double Up silver tokens can only be used for fresh, Michigan grown fruits and vegetables.

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 market at which you received them. The value of these tokens does come off your SNAP Bridge Card.

 

Grocery For Grocery Store Customers

How does Double Up Food Bucks work in grocery store? Double Up Food Bucks works slightly differently 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 Michigan grown fresh fruits and vegetables, you will earn $1 in Double Up to buy additional fresh fruits and vegetables in the same grocery store.
  • We will announce specific details on Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids and Muskegon grocery stores closer to August 2015!

How do I know which products will earn Double Up? Double Up Food Bucks can be earned by buying any Michigan grown fresh fruits and vegetables with your SNAP Bridge Card. Look for signs and stickers in the produce section labeling eligible “grown in Michigan” products, 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 about 20 grocery stores in the Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids and Muskegon metro areas in 2015. 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 runs from August 1 – December 31. SNAP customers can use the program every day that participating grocery stores are open during this season.

 

how-it-works-step2For Kent County Customers & Vendors

How do I sign up? You only need to sign up the first time you use the electronic payment system. At a farmers market, sign up at the market information booth; at a farm stand, sign up with a farm stand employee. Signing up takes less than a minute and all you need is your Bridge Card.  Double Up matches SNAP dollars only, not WIC or any other public benefits such as cash assistance or summer EBT.

How do I earn Double Up Loyalty credits at farmers markets and farm stands? After you have signed up, you earn an equal dollar value of Double Up Loyalty credits every time you make a SNAP purchase.  The system automatically limits you to earning $20 per day.

How do I spend my Double Up Loyalty? Tell the vendor “use my Double Up Loyalty credits!”

Where are my Double Up Loyalty credits stored? Double Up Loyalty credits are stored in a separate account associated with your Bridge Card number.  It is similar to a credit card reward program.

The account is separate from your SNAP benefits and is not managed by the State of Michigan, and the State does not know your Double Up Loyalty balance.

How can I check my Double Up Loyalty Balance? Vendors and market managers can check your balance at the market or farm stand.

What can I buy with Double Up Loyalty credits? Double Up Loyalty credits can ONLY be spent on Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables.

How do I keep track of my Double Up balance? At the end of your purchase, ask the vendor how much Double Up Loyalty you have left. The vendor can send a receipt to you by text, email, or show you the screen for you to review.  Many shoppers find it helpful to keep a note in their wallet with the date and their Double Up balance.

How do I make a Double Up Loyalty return? There are no returns on Double Up Loyalty purchases.


 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 in English and Spanish. 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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Please note: The COVID-19 pandemic may cause temporary changes in locations, hours and procedures. Check individual locations’ web pages or call directly for the most up-to-date information.

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