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GreenTree joins Double Up Food Bucks program

GreenTree Cooperative Grocery is participating in Double Up Food Bucks program, which is meant to encourage shoppers to purchase local, fresh produce.

Double Up Food Bucks is meant to encourage shoppers to purchase local, fresh produce with an Electronic Benefits bridge card. Shoppers receive a coupon for the same amount they spent with a $20 a day maximum. The next time they shop at GreenTree they can redeem the coupon for any fresh produce in the store.

In the first five year since it began, Double Up was used by more than 300,000 low income families and 1,000 famers, according to Fair Food Network. The program started in Detroit in 2009 and has since expanded to 200 other Michigan farmers markets and grocery stores.

“I think this will really help the community,” Bulk Buyer and Store keeper for GreenTree, Reeva Ripley said. “It'll help people with restrictive budgets on food to buy healthier food and helps local farmers.”

The program helps local farmers by creating incentives for people to buy local fresh produce.

“It encourages people to buy local products, (which) keeps money in the community and helps people with EBT to buy fresh food,” Ripley said.

GreenTree Cooperative Grocery is one of only 56 retailers who were selected to be a part of this program.

“We are right in mid Michigan so our location was probably part of the reason we were selected to be a part of this program,” Marketing Manager Laura Coffee, said. “Also, our selection of local produce we keep in store. Double Up is used at many farmers markets, but retailers have the benefit of being open daily and year round.”

The Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market started accepting Double UP Food Bucks in 2014. The first year the farmer’s market distributed a little more than $11,500 and the second year $16,100.

“The program helps people stretch their dollars,” Market Manager Carol Moody said. “It makes a difference.”

The market is open every Thursday from 7:30 am to 2 pm at Island Park and Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm at City Hall, 320 W. Broadway. The market closes for the season in October.