St. Joe Foundation hosts USDA representatives
Representatives from the Nutrition Incentive Hub, the organization that supports dozens of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grantees, visited Fort Wayne earlier this month to see the St. Joe Foundation’s Double Up program in action.
The Hub team that visited included two researchers and one farmers market specialist. They spent three days visiting a variety of locations that participate in Double Up Indiana and Veggie RX, a Parkview Health program that is also funded in part by the USDA.
The St. Joe Foundation kicked off Double Up Indiana in early 2021 after being awarded a $500,000 matching grant from the USDA. Double Up matches SNAP (food stamp) purchases of fruits and vegetables $1 for $1 up to $20 a day at participating farmers markets and groceries. To date, almost $100,000 in Double Up food bucks has been redeemed by low-income residents, which means more fresh produce is available to local families at risk of food insecurity.
The site visit included stops at several HEAL Market locations, a Plowshares mobile market location, the Three Rivers Natural Food Co-Op, Rose Avenue Burmese farm and a tour of the soon-to-open Electric Works Union Street Market. The national nutrition experts also presented information about advances in improving access to healthy foods to a group of non-profit, government, and healthcare leaders working to reduce food insecurity in Allen County.
Mary Tyndall, the Foundation’s Double Up manager, says the site visit was a success. “It was great to have the opportunity to learn from professionals who work with cutting edge nutrition incentive programs every day,” said Tyndall. “We were also able to showcase many of the excellent food and nutrition programs and partners working in our community.”