More Arizona families can afford to eat healthy thanks to this new program

With Double Up Food, families who use SNAP get one free SNAP dollar for every dollar they spend on fresh fruit and veggies at farmer markets.

PHOENIX - The farm fresh food movement is making its way to more tables right here in Arizona. Now, it is giving families who may not otherwise be able to afford the fresh diet, better access to organic goods.

This new Double Up Food Bucks Arizona program helps send more healthy fruits and vegetables home with people across the state and supports local farmers.

Buying fresh, natural and organic from organic farmers like Robert McClendon is something so many families wish they could do.

“We have probably 100 different fresh fruits and vegetables that we grow," McClendon said.

But if their wallets are already empty it can be very difficult to bring the farm to the table, until now.

“(It) opens the door to a lot of people that could no longer access that or could no longer afford it,” McClendon said.

Adrienne Udarbe, the executive director of healthy eating nonprofit Pinnacle Prevention, says the new federally funded program helps the nearly 18 percent of Arizonans who don't have access to nutritious food. The data is from St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance.

“Growers here want to help you stretch your food dollars so they’re going try to maximize the amount of funds and dollars you’re spending here at the market," Udarbe said.

It’s all a part of the Double Up Food Bucks program. Anyone who uses SNAP, formerly food stamps, gets one free SNAP dollar for every dollar they spend on fresh fruits and veggies at farmers markets, up to 20 bucks.

“The produce that you’re going to get here at the farmer’s market may have been picked this week or yesterday," Udarbe said. "So the less miles it’s traveled, the more healthy and wholesome that it is.”

It's also a win-win for local farmers.

“It is an extra support for us over and above our regular customer base and works very, very well," McClendon said. "People really appreciate it.”

To learn more about Double Up Food Bucks Arizona, visit the program's website for the website or Facebook page.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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