Office for the Aging

 

The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program Begins July 1

The New York State Office for the Aging reminds older adults and their families that the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP), run by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, begins on July 1. The program gives low-income adults 60 years of age and older coupons to purchase locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables at participating farmers markets and farm stands across New York State.

The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program helps older adults eat healthier by encouraging the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Many farmers markets provide current information about healthy eating and cooking demonstrations that explain how to use produce available in the market.

Fresh produce is necessary for a nutritious diet that allows older adults to age well in their homes. By increasing older adults’ access to fresh produce, the Senior FMNP contributes to New York State’s focus on healthy aging,

The program also supports local farmers markets, farm stands, and farmers themselves with increased attendance and sales. This bolsters local economic development and strengthens communities.

To receive a coupon booklet and participate in the program, New Yorkers must be 60 years of age or older and qualify as low-income. The criteria for income eligibility include:

  • A gross monthly income at or below 185% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines: $1,926 per month for a one-person household, $2,607 per month for a two-person household, or $3,289 per month for a three-person household
  • Eligibility for or receipt of certain benefits like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), public assistance, or Section 8 housing subsidy
Each eligible older adult may receive one coupon booklet only, which cannot be divided between adults. The booklet contains five $4.00 coupons to be used at participating farmers markets and farm stands. Farmers will only accept the coupons as payment for fruit, vegetables, mushrooms, and cooking herbs that are fresh, unprocessed, and locally grown. The coupons may not be used to purchase any other items available at farmers markets, including baked goods and produce not grown locally.

The coupon booklets will be distributed starting on July 1 on a first come, first served basis to eligible older New Yorkers. They can be redeemed from July through November.

Older New Yorkers who are eligible to participate in the Senior FMNP can contact their local office for the aging for more information about receiving and using the coupons. The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets also provides a list of farmers markets and farm stands that participate in the program by county.

Interested older adults may also contact NY Connects at 1-800-342-9871 to find out more about the program.