The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provides income-eligible senior citizens with special coupons worth $50 to buy produce.
For the convenience of seniors, applications will be available beginning April 14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Meigs Senior Center in Pomeroy. The application is also available on the web site at www.areaagency8.org of the Area Agency on Aging 8.
The SFMNP is a USDA program in which grants are awarded to provide coupons to low-income seniors. Individuals are eligible for the Senior Farmers’ Market if they are 60 or over and have an annual income of $20,035 or less as a single person or $26,954 or less for a household of two. Each eligible senior receives $50.
Since grant funding is limited, Gwynn Stewart, Communications Director Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District and Area Agency on Aging 8, stressed that “coupons are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.”
Each person will receive a total of ten $5 coupons: five $5 coupons valid from May 1- July 31 and five $5 coupons valid from Aug. 1- Oct. 31. she said.
“Coupons may only be redeemed by authorized participating farmers who sell produce at farmers’ markets, or roadside stands.” Stewart reported. She emphasized that the coupons may only be used to purchase “fresh, locally grown fruits, herbs and vegetables.” The program ends on Oct. 31, 2010.
Local farmers are needed to participate in the market program, the AAA representative reported. They may sell seasonal items as long as the farmer grows at least 51 percent of the produce sold and does not purchase produce from a wholesaler (one who does not grow the produce), Stewart said. A farmer may buy the rest of the produce — 49 percent of what is sold from other local farmers.
For more details on what products are included in the program or to become an authorized SFMNP farmer, contact the Area Agency on Aging 8 (AAA8) at 1-800-331-2644 or visit www.areaagency8.org.