Garden State Good Food Network
Local and organic produce can often be expensive and unaffordable, and this is especially true for low-income residents in New Jersey. To change this, City Green offers Double Bucks, a nutrition incentive program that allows recipients of WIC and SNAP benefits to use their federal food benefit dollars to purchase local organic produce from City Green’s farm stands and Veggie Mobile locations. Not only can recipients use their WIC and SNAP dollars to buy delicious local produce, but City Green doubles the value of those dollars, allowing recipients to purchase twice as much food as they could normally buy at the grocery store. This program creates a direct incentive for residents to spend their benefits on locally grown organic fruit and vegetables instead of commercially produced agriculture products, which may contain pesticides, fertilizers, and other harmful chemicals.
To expand the impact of its farm stands and Veggie Mobile locations and increase the overall access to healthy food for New Jersey residents, City Green created the Garden State Good Food Network. This program leverages the enormous potential of existing farmer’s markets in New Jersey to provide affordable food access in areas outside of City Green’s own area of operation. City Green provides support in the form of funding, training and technical assistance to partner markets to run their own “double bucks” programs – similar to City Green’s double bucks program – that incentivize low-income families to spend their federal food benefit dollars at their local farmer’s market. Through the Garden State Good Food Network, low-income families across the entire state can have access to the healthy, farm-fresh produce they deserve.