Use SNAP benefits to double your grocery budget, buy healthy local food at farmers markets

Stock image | Photo by dragana991/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Utah households enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are encouraged to bring their EBT Horizon card to farmers markets and farm stands across Southern Utah to have their benefits matched dollar-for-dollar by the Double Up Food Bucks program. 

Bilingual flyer advertising the Double Up Food Bucks program | Image courtesy of Utah State University Extension, St. George News

LaCee Jiménez, SNAP-Ed program coordinator for Utah State University Extension, said the Double Up Food Bucks program helps SNAP recipients get the most out of their benefits while supporting small businesses in the community. 

“Farmers markets are a great resource for anyone looking to access healthy, locally grown food,” Jiménez said.  

To use Double Up Food Bucks, SNAP recipients must bring their EBT Horizon card to the information booth at a participating market before shopping. After they decide how much to spend, the booth attendant will process their card for the requested amount and provide tokens that are used as payment to market vendors. Customers can choose to spend their tokens right away or save them for another visit to the market. 

Customers will receive both SNAP tokens and a dollar-for-dollar match of Double Up Food Bucks tokens. Utahns enrolled in SNAP benefits can receive up to $30 in Double Up Food Bucks every time they visit a participating farmers market or farm stand. 

Christy Johnson, manager of the Festival City Farmers Market in Cedar City, said the program gives shoppers the ability to get twice as much food for the same number of EBT dollars. The Festival City Farmers Market only started accepting SNAP benefits last month, but Johnson said the amount of customers using Double Up Food Bucks is doubling each week. 

Double Up Food Bucks may only be used to purchase Utah-grown fruits and vegetables. Along with fresh produce, SNAP benefits buy a wide range of items at farmers markets, including baked goods, canned goods, honey, eggs and meat. Customers can also purchase seeds and plant starts for growing their own food at home. 

SNAP recipients may use their benefits to purchase locally sourced food at over 20 farmers markets and farm stands throughout Utah, including the following five locations in Iron and Washington counties:  

Everything at farmers markets and farm stands is grown or made by the people selling it. Nancy Dalton, manager of the Cedar City Farmers Market, said locally sourced food supports the Southern Utah economy and is often fresher and better-tasting than items found in grocery stores. The market has accepted SNAP benefits and Double Up Food Bucks for the past two years, helping low-income households stretch their food dollars further. 

Stock image | Photo by StockSeller_ukr/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

“You can learn about the food you’re buying from those who are actually growing it here locally,” Dalton said. “It ends up being a win-win for everybody.”

USU Extension is the implementing agency for Utah’s SNAP-Ed program, Create Better Health, which helps connect SNAP recipients with farmers markets and the Double Up Food Bucks program through the “Eat Fresh, Buy Local” campaign. Create Better Health also provides online resources for planning, cooking and storing meals using fresh local food.

The Iron County ambassadors for Create Better Health set up a booth at local markets on a rotating schedule. The booth offers information about SNAP benefits and Double Up Food Bucks as well as recipes, tips for healthy eating and free food samples. 

Visit to learn more about the Double Up Food Bucks program and find participating markets.

Written by ALEXA MORGAN for St. George News.

• S P O N S O R E D  C O N T E N T • 

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!