By Martha Murphy
Wildcat District Extension Agent Pittsburg EFNEP office
Helping more families buy fresh, healthy food from local farmers is a simple yet powerful idea. Double Up Food Bucks matches the value of SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) when spent on local fruits and vegetables with a financial benefit to local growers. What began in selected farmers markets has grown into what is now a national model for SNAP incentives.
Double up Food Bucks is a dollar-for-dollar match program for SNAP users that shop at participating farmers markets and grocery stores. Double Up matches the value of SNAP dollars spent on local fruits and vegetables for future purchases of more local fruits and vegetables (up to $25 per day). In Pittsburg, SNAP participants can take part in this program at the Pittsburg Farmer’s Market and at Ron’s Supermarket.
Funding for the Double Up Food Bucks is provided by a USDA Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program brought to Kansas by the Heartland Collaborative. Double Up is a win/win/win: low-income families bring home more healthy food, area farmers gain new customers and make more money and more food dollars stay in the local economy. Each of these has a positive ripple effect of benefits.
Fruits and vegetables have many nutrients that we often have too few of in our diets:
- Vitamin C–Keeps teeth and gums healthy, and helps heal cuts and wounds.
- Vitamin A–Keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps protect against infection.
- Potassium–May help maintain a healthy blood pressure, decrease bone loss, and reduces the risk of developing kidney stones.
- Dietary Fiber–Helps bowel function, reduces constipation and may help reduce cholesterol levels.
- Folate–Helps the body form red blood cells. Extra folate is important for women of childbearing years because it helps prevent birth defects of the spine and brain.
Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables has many health benefits:
- May help reduce the risk for heart disease including heart attack and stroke.
- May help protect against certain cancers
- May reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes.
- Eating fruits rather than other sweet items that are higher in calories can help with managing weight.
- Eating vegetables that are lower in calories and higher in fiber (which makes you feel fuller longer) helps with managing weight.
Double Up Food Bucks helps low-income families eat more fruits and vegetables while supporting local farmers and growing local economies. For additional information, contact the Wildcat Extension District, Crawford County, 620-724-8233, Labette County, 620-784-5337, Montgomery County, 620-331-2690, Pittsburg Office, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education (EFNEP), 620-232-1930 and Wilson County, 620-378-2167. Our website is http://www.wildcatdistrict.k-state.edu/ or follow us on Facebook: Wildcat Extension District.
1 2lb spaghetti squash
1 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoons olive oil
4 gloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon powdered garlic 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 1/3 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped Parmesan cheese, optional
- Stab the spaghetti squash a few mes with a sharp knife.
- Place it on a microwave safe plate and microwave for 12
minutes, allow it to cool for about 15 minutes.
- Halve the spaghetti squash lengthwise, remove the seeds
from the center and discard.
- Using a fork, shred the squash and place the strands of spa‐
ghetti squash in a bowl, set aside.
- In a large skillet with high sides, over medium heat, add the
butter and olive oil. Allow the butter to melt, add the garlic
and sauté for a few minutes.
- Add powdered garlic and Italian seasoning along with the
squash, salt, pepper and water.
- Sauté everything together for about 3‐4 minutes, stir in some
fresh parsley, parmesan and serve.