Double Value Coupon

Through a mobile giving campaign in partnership with Cher’s 2014 U.S. concert tour, Chefs for Humanity is undertaking an incentive program that will increase the value of federal nutrition benefits (i.e. food stamps) when spent on fresh, local produce at farmers markets in major US cities.

The program is called the Double Value Coupon (DVCP) program. We are going to work with implementing partners, including Wholesome Wave, who will carry out the program in various geographies. The Double Value Coupon Program operates like a 2 for 1 fruit and vegetable sale, providing an incentive to individuals who redeem their federal nutrition benefits at farmers markets for the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables. The network includes more than 60 community-based partners running the Double Value Coupon Program at 300 markets in 24 states and DC. In 2013, the program reached nearly 40,000 individuals, impacting over 3,500 farmers, and generating an additional $2.45 million in revenue from the redemption of federal nutrition benefit and DVCP incentives.

More specifically, please find below a step-by-step explanation of that program.


Application Process

Community-based organizations apply to participate in the Double Value Coupon program.

Partnership formation

Partner organizations are selected based on demonstrated community need, measured by: community need for farmers markets, food stamp participation rates, free and reduced lunch rates, household demographics such as income, and food stamp redemption rates at farmers markets. (The program is already in place in a number of low-income communities and so-called “food deserts” throughout the country, including Watts in LA, Dorchester in Boston, and Ward 8 in Washington, DC.)

Doubling Food Assistance Benefits

Food assistance recipients’ funds are doubled when spent at participating farmers markets on fresh produce.

  • To take advantage of DVCP, shoppers approach the farmers market manager and indicate how much of their food assistance benefits want to spend at the market that day.
  • The market manager then accepts payment (electronically for SNAP recipients), and provides the consumer with tokens, which he or she can exchange at any stand selling fruits and vegetables at the market.
  • Because food stamps rarely provide enough to allow recipients to regularly purchase enough fresh food of any type, the market manager provides low-income shoppers with double the value of their food stamps in tokens. (For example, if someone redeems $10 worth of SNAP benefits, they receive a total of $20 in tokens to spend at the farmers market)

Payment of farmer/vendor

Vendors/farmers paid in tokens can then redeem them with the market manager for cash at the end of the day.

Wholesome Wave is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that strives to create a more vibrant, just and sustainable food system. By increasing affordability and access to healthy, locally grown food, Wholesome Wave is empowering individuals to eat healthier, supporting small and mid-sized farm businesses and bolstering local economies.