North Fort Myers, Florida – Sunflower Discount Market in North Fort Myers is the first retail outlet in Florida to participate in Feeding Florida’s Fresh Access Bucks (FAB) program, an initiative that increases access to fresh produce for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients.
“Our food bank network is committed to ensuring that the clients we serve have access to healthy, fresh produce. We know that incentives for SNAP recipients to purchase those fruits and vegetables is the strongest way to support these families, and we are ecstatic that Fresh Access Bucks is moving into the retail space,” said Feeding Florida Executive Director Robin Safley. “We look forward to expanding it across the state.”
A program of Feeding Florida, Fresh Access Bucks (FAB) makes healthy foods accessible to SNAP shoppers in communities through local food outlets, including farmers markets, community supported agriculture(CSAs), farm stands, mobile markets, and now grocery stores.
At Sunflower Discount Market, Fresh Access Bucks provides a 1:1 match in paper vouchers for SNAP customers to purchase fresh produce, with an emphasis on Florida-grown when available. FAB matches what a SNAP cardholder spends with FREE Fresh Access Bucks - up to $10 to spend on fresh vegetables and fruit, every time they shop. For example, a SNAP shopper who spends $5 of their SNAP benefits at a participating retail outlet receives an additional $5 of FAB to purchase fresh produce. SNAP shoppers exchange Fresh Access Bucks for fresh produce that day or on their next shopping trip. Fresh Access Bucks are available every day the FAB retail location is open and SNAP shoppers may double their benefits multiple times per day.
With Southwest Florida being heavily impacted by Covid-19 and increasing unemployment rates, food access for the thousands affected is an urgent need. Lee County, where the FAB retail program will launch, currently serves over 108,000 individuals on SNAP who could take advantage of the program to receive FREE fresh produce, helping to alleviate the county’s 12.9% rate of food insecurity.
Sunflower Discount Market is a locally owned grocery store located at 1001 Palm Ave in North Fort Myers. Open daily from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM, they offer quality foods at deep discounts with a focus on making nutritious, tasty foods, and fresh local produce affordable. Sunflower Discount Market purchases distressed grocery products that are casualties of the supply chain and pass along the savings to their customers.
Sunflower owners Paul and Lisa Crawford believe that everyone should be able to afford nutritious foods. "We are so excited to be participating in the Fresh Access Bucks program, helping people to afford healthy fruits and vegetables. Many of our neighbors are really struggling to get by, especially now with unemployment during the pandemic. It's our mission to do everything we can to make grocery shopping affordable,” says Crawford.
Feeding Florida’s FAB retail program is an expansion of an initiative that is currently offered in over 50 farmers market outlets across the state, with the goal of ensuring food insecure individuals have access to affordable, fresh, locally-sourced produce in their community.
About Fresh Access Bucks
Fresh Access Bucks (FAB) is a statewide USDA Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program (FINIP) funded nutrition incentive program that encourages SNAP shoppers to redeem their benefits on healthy produce at participating locations. FAB’s retail program is a three-year pilot with a focus on small, regional, or independent grocery, co-op, convenience, or corner stores to offer Fresh Access Bucks on fresh produce. To learn more about Fresh Access Bucks’ retail program, visit www.FreshAccessBucks.com.
About Feeding Florida
Feeding Florida is the state’s premier organization in the fight to end hunger. The statewide network of food banks distributes food directly to families in need through over 2,300 local charitable agencies, providing a healthy, adequate, and consistent food supply to every community, every day. Feeding Florida’s 12 member food banks include: All Faiths Food Bank, America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend, Inc., Bread of the Mighty, Feeding Northeast Florida, Feeding South Florida, Feeding Tampa Bay, Feeding the Gulf Coast, First Step Food Bank, Florida Gateway Food Bank, Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, and Treasure Coast Food Bank.