OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — SNAP recipients and those on food stamps will now have more money to buy fresh produce.
"Nebraska, for the first time ever, has a USDA grant to run the Double Up Food Bucks program here in Nebraska. So that is new, and that allows us to really grow and scale the program," said Vanessa Wielenga, an assistant extension educator at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Double Up Food Bucks has been available to recipients for a few years. It takes their $20 allotment and turns it into $40 to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables at farmer's markets, or community stores.
"That money just goes into the pockets of our local farmers and ranchers and growers. Also, the program is in local and independently owned grocery stores, so really investing in the local community business and economic development," said Wielenga.
With the grant money from the USDA, Nebraska SNAP and food stamp recipients have a total of $1,000,000 to use until August 2023.
"They have bipartisan support because it is also a win for the local economy. You're infusing dollars into the local economy for farmers and stores, and then for the SNAP participant or the low-income participant to be able to get more fruits and vegetables. It's really a win across the board," said Dr. Amy Yaroch, executive director of the Gretchen Swanson Center For Nutrition.
Right now there are only eight sites for recipients to shop at in Lincoln and Omaha. With more grant money available, organizers are hoping to find more partners throughout the state.
"If there is an independent grocery store, or a farmers market, or even a CSA program that is interested in partnering with Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Community Foundation, we are always looking for new partners. We have this grant and we have a lot of money to spend on incentives."