Double Value Coupon Program (DVCP)

The Double Value Coupon Program provides consumers with incentives that match the value of their federal nutrition benefits when used to purchase fresh, local produce at participating farm-to-retail venues.

Wholesome Wave’s Double Value Coupon Program (DVCP) was fully launched in 2008 at farmers markets in Connecticut, California, New York and Massachusetts. In 2012, our nationwide network of farmers markets, farm stands, mobile markets and CSA programs increased farmers’ revenue by nearly $2.4 million in federal benefit and incentive purchases. $1,494,860 came from federal food benefit redemption and $884,400 from DVCP incentives. Wholesome Wave’s DVCP now reaches 60 partners in 24 states and the District of Columbia, over 300 farm-to-retail venues, and more than 3,200 farmers.

When shopping at participating farm-to-retail venues, such as farmers markets, DVCP participants receive an incentive that matches the amount spent in federal nutrition benefits, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) checks (issued to seniors and participants of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) towards the purchase of locally grown, healthy food.  Implementing an incentive program, such as DVCP, at farm-to-retail venues has the potential to increase the consumption of healthy produce by participating community members and support the viability of small and midsize farms by creating new revenue streams.

Data from the USDA shows that, as of February 2012, 46.3 million Americans were enrolled in SNAP – an increase of 4.8% from the previous year. In 2010, 55% of SNAP recipients were children under the age of 18 or seniors over the age of 60. 41% of SNAP households received income from a job.

DVCP generates true economic stimulus by keeping federal nutrition benefit funds within local and regional communities. A study by Moody’s Economy showed that an increase of SNAP/Food Stamp benefits by $1 creates a “ripple effect through the economy,” resulting in $1.73 in economic stimulus. In fact, the study showed that “expanding [SNAP is one of] the most effective ways to prime the economy’s pump.”

Program Highlights:

  • In 2013, 35,851 DVCP consumers purchased fresh, healthy produce from local farmers at partnering farm-to-retail venues, an increase from 20,000 participants in 2010.
  • 90% of DVCP consumers reported increasing their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • On average, 27% of total market sales at participating farm-to-retail venues were from DVCP consumers.
  • In response to increased sales, farmers expanded acreage/production, diversified products and added additional hoop houses or greenhouses.

Additional data is available here:

DVCP Program Testimonials:

“As a farmer, I am very thankful for the alternative payment methods afforded our customers at the market. These payment methods definitely increased our farm sales and brought us new customers who otherwise might not have shopped at the farmers’ market or purchased from us. Programs like the Double Dollar program bring more customers to the market, allow more people in our community access to fresh, local, naturally-grown foods and keep more dollars in the local economy.” -Ben Bullen of Bullen Family Farm, Participating farmer in Appalachian Sustainable Development’s Double Dollars program

“My husband has been out of work for a year and a half. We had enough savings and stocks that we cashed out on to last us for a year with no income. But then we ran out of money and he still was unable to be hired as a software developer … We applied for food stamps, but we felt strange in accepting food stamps as my husband used to make very good money at his computer job. We began receiving food stamps in the winter, but it was never enough to cover monthly food expenses for our family of six. Then as spring came I remembered that the woman at the Health department told me that the Abingdon Farmer’s market doubles what you spend! That is where I shopped anyway whenever the market was open because I try to give our children healthy and organic foods. This double dollars program has allowed me to continue to feel proud as a mother who can provide her children with plenty of healthy options.- Airen Templeton, Shopper at Abingdon Farmers Market

Double Value Coupon Program Mentions:

Making the Connection: Linking Policies that Prevent Hunger and Childhood Obesity, Leadership for Healthy Communities, Advancing Policies to Support Healthy Eating and Active Living, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, February 2012

“Policymakers also can create incentives for federal nutrition program participants to choose healthier foods by making it easier to use the benefits and expanding their buying power in places where healthful foods are sold. In Hartford, Conn., a city with one of the highest poverty rates (33.5%) in the nation, the Billings Forge Farmers’ Market began accepting electric benefit transfer (EBT) cards for both SNAP and WIC benefits in its third year of operation. They also increased outreach to residents on food assistance programs and offered them incentives that doubled the value of the federal benefits for the purchase of locally grown fruits and vegetables using a $5,000 grant from the Wholesome Wave Double Value Coupon program. Within the year, the market experienced a 243 percent increase in SNAP redemptions.”

Will Local Foods Influence American Diets, McFadden, Dawn, and Sarah Low. Choices Quarter 1 2012

“A visible example of a public-health driven initiative linking to local markets is Wholesome Wave (http://wholesomewave.org/). Wholesome Wave was established in 2007 to connect local and regional food systems in order to increase access to and affordability of fresh, locally grown food. Their mission and programming efforts are multi-faceted as they simultaneously address food insecurity, through enhancing the dollars given to at-risk households, while also supporting farm viability through targeting those new dollars to local marketing channels…”

Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within a Generation, White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity Report to the President, May 2010.

“Since 2005, a group of farmers markets, foundations, local governments, and nonprofit organizations have collaborated on pilot incentive programs to expand USDA programs to improve the health and nutrition of low income families and their children. Wholesome Wave’s Double Value Coupon Program increases the value of SNAP and other program benefits when used at participating farmers markets, reducing the cost of fruits and vegetables for low-income participants. Initiated in 2008, the program has expanded to more than 60 markets in 12 states and the District of Columbia. Early results from participating farmers markets often indicate a 300% increase in SNAP and WIC use at farmers markets with the introduction of double voucher incentive programs.”

 

Wholesome Wave partners’ farmers markets that implement the Double Value Coupon Program and provide incentives for SNAP & other federal nutrition benefits.

Zoom in on states to see our partners’ farmers markets that implement incentive programs. Click on the green dot to read details about the farmers market, including times, days of the week, location, and more.

If your organization is interested in engaging with Wholesome Wave’s programs, please fill out this form.