Heirloom Expands SNAP/EBT & Double Up Food Bucks Arizona To All Five Markets

Heirloom Farmers Markets now accepts SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and Double Up Food Bucks Arizona at all five of its farmers markets in and around Tucson. The expansion of this program will allow the nonprofit organization to reach a wider group of SNAP customers who haven’t been able to use their benefits to buy locally grown produce at their local market and, in turn, will serve as a new source of revenue for local farmers. Currently, Heirloom boasts 27 Southern Arizona farmers at their markets.

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Heirloom Farmers Markets’ ability to accept SNAP benefits at all of its well-established farmers markets is an important accomplishment in stronger food security and local agriculture in southern Arizona, and the Double Up Food Bucks Arizona program will allow them to have an even greater impact in the region. The Double Up Food Bucks program (funded by Pinnacle Prevention) allows SNAP customers to double their SNAP dollars up to $20 a day when they use them to buy Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables. SNAP customers who spend $20 each visit, for example, will receive an extra $20 to be spent on Arizona-grown produce ­– benefitting both shoppers and farmers. Growers that have a green sign with the words “Double Up Accepted Here” accept Double Up dollars, potentially doubling their revenue from SNAP customers.

Increased focus on SNAP customers has proven beneficial for both customers and local growers. “Double Up [Food Bucks] makes a huge difference,” says Joe Marlow, owner of SouthWinds Farm. “A pretty good component of my cash flow at the market is from SNAP sales… it allows people that don’t have access to food better access to it.” To help SNAP customers learn about local produce and shopping at the farmers market, Heirloom Farmers Markets has launched two new educational programs at their Sunday Rillito Park Farmers Market.

Both the Taste of the Market (TotM) booth and Market Ambassador Internship program aim to help SNAP customers shop, cook, and eat locally. Each Sunday, TotM provides food literacy through taste tests and exposure to new recipes to help customers learn about local food and purchasing resources that make it easier to support local, eat healthy, and cook delicious meals at home. “By engaging visitors in an educational experience, including a taste test of fresh foods, Taste of the Market empowers individuals to choose foods that nourish their bodies while supporting small-scale local agriculture and local food producers,” says TotM Program Coordinator Jackie Mendelson. Additionally, the organization’s new Market Ambassador will work individually with SNAP customers at the Rillito Park Farmers Market to give market tours, connect customers with producers, teach about seasonality, and help create budget-friendly recipes and meal plans. Heirloom Farmers Markets continues to create a space that fosters inclusivity and healthy living.