Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program
The Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program supports good nutrition by providing low-income elders living in select counties in Florida with coupons that can be redeemed for locally grown, fresh fruits and vegetables from participating farmers at local farmers' markets. The program is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Currently, only low-income elders living in Alachua, Bay, Dixie, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Hernando, Jackson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Sumter, Suwannee, Union, and Washington counties may apply for the program, though it will expand as program funding increases. Upon application through the local lead agency, eligible elders receive $40 worth of coupons (10 coupons worth $4 each) that can be exchanged for fresh, locally grown produce. Coupons are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning in early April, and continuing while funds are available. A waiting list is kept for eligible elders who do not receive coupons due to a shortfall in available coupons. Coupons may be used from April 1 through July 31 of that year. Funds remaining from coupons that remain unspent on August 1 are reallocated to direct purchase of pre-bundled produce or may be issued in the form of coupons, which are subsequently distributed to those on the waiting list and then to other eligible elders who also did not participate during the coupon season.
Only produce grown in Florida or within 50 miles of the market, and sold in its natural state, may be purchased with coupons. Coupons cannot be used to buy produce that a farmer has purchased from a wholesaler or non-local farmer, and they cannot be used to buy any processed foods. For a list of eligible fruits and vegetables, click here.
The Department operates the program in cooperation with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which authorizes and trains the participating farmers, and with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension agencies, which provide nutritional education materials for participating elders.
The local agencies that currently administer the program are listed below:
Elders age 60 and older with an income not exceeding 185 percent of the current federal poverty guidelines are eligible. Federal poverty guidelines are updated each year.
Currently participating counties: Alachua, Bay, Dixie, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Hernando, Jackson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Sumter, Suwannee, Union, and Washington.
Program dates: Coupons are given out in early April and can be used until July 31 of each year. If all coupons are not spent, the funds remaining are reallocated in the form of coupons or used to purchase pre-bundled fall produce from enrolled farmers. The bundles are then distributed to eligible elders who did not receive coupons earlier in the year.
Benefit Levels: Currently $40 per eligible household, per season.
The following links provide further information about federally funded National Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs:
In accordance with federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call 1-800-795-3272 or 202-720-6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
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