Same price double the food: Ashland business launches program for more affordable produce

Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 4:57 PM CST
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ASHLAND, WI. (CBS3 Duluth) - The Chequamegon Food Co-op in Ashland launched its “Produce Double Dollars” program on Monday.

The program allows customers to show their EBT card before checkout for a 50% discount on all fresh produce.

“If somebody buys a dollar worth of lemons, we’ll give them another dollar worth of whatever, and it essentially equates to a 50% discount to anyone buying produce,” said Sara Beadle, Marketing and Membership Services Manager at the Co-op.

Beadle said the goal of the program is to make fresher, more nutritious produce more affordable for those with food insecurities.

“It’s just having people be able to access produce, which can be way more expensive than some of the prepackaged things that you find on a shelf or frozen vegetables,” she said.

According to Beadle, they’ve been wanting to implement an affordable produce program for a few years, but a partnership with Milwaukee-based non-profit Hunger Task Force allowed them to finally make it happen.

Hunger Task Force will provide the Co-op with grant money to help support the program.

Produce Double Dollars is the first program of its kind in the state.

Other resource organizations in the Ashland Area, like The Brick, are partnering with the Co-op to help spread the word.

“As soon as the Chequamegon Food Co-op let us know that they were introducing Produce Double Dollars, we said ‘How can we help?’” said Liz Seefeldt, Executive Director of The Brick.

The two organizations have partnered in the past, with the Co-op setting up donation boxes and providing extra food to The Brick’s food shelf.

Seefeldt says many people in the Ashland area want to be independent and often turn down resources like food pantries and handouts.

“We frequently hear consumers say ‘I really don’t want to use the services I want to save it for somebody else who needs it more than I do,’” said Seefeldt.

She believes a program like Produce Double Dollars could help some of those individuals get the food they need by allowing them to purchase it for themselves.

The Chequamegon Food Co-op hopes to make the new program a permanent part of their store.

While it’s too early to look at any numbers, they’ll evaluate its success in the coming weeks.

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