The Double SNAP Dollars project is a collaborative incentive program that provides low-income community members with the opportunity to purchase healthy, wholesome foods and strengthen community ties between locally-owned businesses, local producers, and low-income communities.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients receive a dollar-for-dollar match – up to $10 or $20, depending on the location – when they purchase Montana-grown fruits and vegetables with their SNAP benefits at independent, locally-owned retailers in Missoula. Clark Fork Market, Missoula Farmers’ Market, Missoula Community Food Co-op, and Western Montana Growers Cooperative are all participating retailers.
In 2015, a pilot year for the program, more than $17,000 in local food sales were matched at four participating locations in Missoula. The dollar-for-dollar match gives hundreds of disadvantaged community members who receive SNAP benefits the opportunity to increase their purchasing power to buy healthy and wholesome foods. It also increased sales at local food retailers – the program brought more than 150 new customers to participating retailers.
The Double SNAP Dollars program, funded in part by a grant from the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation, is expanding in 2016 to more farmers’ markets, grocery stores, and low-income communities outside of Missoula, such as Polson and Whitefish. The Double SNAP Dollars program not only helps low-income families purchase healthy foods, but also provides educational opportunities to learn about nutrition and healthy cooking techniques and leadership opportunities to help guide future development of this program. These engagement opportunities will give disadvantaged community members the tools to start and continue a healthier lifestyle.