BROOKINGS, S.D. - Some South Dakota grocery stores are now offering participants of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) a chance to double up on fresh fruits and vegetables. Supported by SDSU Extension, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Fair Food Network, Double Up Dakota Bucks doubles the value of SNAP benefits when used on fresh fruits and vegetables.
“This program is aimed at helping those disproportionately affected by nutrition, particularly children and families,” says Samantha Dvorak, SDSU Extension Family and Community Health Associate. “Families are able to stretch their SNAP food dollars with the purchase of healthy foods, while farmers sell more produce and local retailers get more business.”
A grant-funded pilot program, Double Up Dakota Bucks doubles the value of SNAP dollars spent on fresh produce. For every $1 spent on fresh fruits and vegetables, $1 is matched, up to $10 to $20 per customer, per visit. Participants can then return to the retailer to redeem Dakota Bucks for more fresh fruit and vegetable purchases.
Participating South Dakota retailers for SNAP/Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) participants are:
- Lakota Thrifty Mart, Dupree
- Cahoy’s General Store, Lake Andes
- Buche Foods, Oacoma
- Buche Foods, Wagner
The goal of the program is to encourage the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables and thus, cash cannot be used in place of the coupon. However, more than one coupon can be redeemed at a time to go towards the purchase of fresh produce.
The reason this program is limited to SNAP/EBT customers and locations, Dvorak says, is because it is a grant-funded pilot program. South Dakota and non-South Dakota residents using an EBT card can earn and redeem Double Up Dakota Bucks only at the store where the coupon was earned. Other SNAP-eligible items will continue to ring up at a regular price.