The Flint Farmer's Market has piloted an innovative wireless technology system to administer the Fair Food Network's Double Up Food Bucks Program that makes it even easier for farmers, customers and market managers to participate.
December 1, 2011
Adapted from Oct. 4 Press Release by Karianne Martus, Creative Communications Co.
FLINT, MI—In adopting the Fair Food Network’s Double Up Food Bucks Program—a program that matches Bridge Card purchases dollar for dollar up to $20 per market day—the Flint Farmer’s Market has piloted a cutting edge wireless technology system to administer the program that makes it even easier for farmers, customers and market managers to participate.
Photo courtesy of guyadamec.com and Creative Communications Co.
While other markets are using a token system, the Flint market worked with local businessman Paul Knific of Epic Technology Solutions, LLC to design a user friendly card system. The magnetic cards make it easy for customers to earn and spend Double Up Food Bucks, allow for speedy disbursements to market vendors and reduce the time market managers need for reporting and payout.
According to Dick Ramsdell, manager of the Flint Farmers’ Market, "The Flint Farmers' Market is proud to be a leader in implementing a food supplement program using wireless technology, but the real story here is that DUFB provide immediate, direct assistance to families and immediate, direct income to Michigan farmers. While many grant funded programs provide indirect benefits to their intended recipients; DUFB dollars flow directly to theirs."
The technology is designed to be scalable and, pending the success of the pilot, Epic Technology Solutions, a start-up business in Flint, may be looking to expand its workforce.
At the Flint Farmers’ Market vendors participating in the program have seen a significant increase in Bridge Card sales since August 18 when the program officially launched. Many vendors have commented on the direct appreciation they have received from market customers who are thankful that their budgets can now include more locally grown fruits and vegetables for their families.
At the Double Up Food Bucks sign-up desk, there have even been tears of joy shed by thankful recipients as they make the realization that this program is allowing them access to better food for their children.