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GardenShare

Monday, July 25, 2016

Farmers market assistance for seniors

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball announced that $2 million in Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) checks are now available for eligible individuals across the state. The program provides checks to low-income New Yorkers age 60 and older to purchase $20 worth of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables from participating local farmers’ markets and farm stands. For the first time, program benefits are being provided on an individual basis instead of per household, expanding the reach of the program to more older New Yorkers.
Commissioner Ball said, “Governor Cuomo has made it a priority to ensure thousands of New Yorkers have access to fresh, healthy foods at affordable prices through programs like the Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. By implementing this new policy that will provide checks redeemable at a participating farmers’ market to individuals rather than by household, even more seniors will be able to take advantage of the program this year, whilesupporting the hundreds of farmers that take part in the community markets.”
In upstate communities, checks are now available at county area Offices for the Aging. Older adults can also access checks at the following Commodity Supplemental Food 
Approximately 120,000 booklets consisting of five $4.00 checks will be distributed this year, allowing for the purchase of fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables from 950 farmers vending at over 600 farmers’ markets and farm stands across the state. A pocket folder with instructions on how and where to use the checks to purchase fresh, local fruits and vegetables from farmers at the market will be included with each booklet. Checks can be used at participating farmers’ markets and farm stands through November 30 of this year.
The Senior FMNP is administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, in cooperation with the New York State Office for the Aging, the New York City Department for the Aging and the New York State Department of Health. For the second consecutive year, additional funding has been provided in the New York State Budget to expand the United States Department of Agriculture’s program.  Nutrition education is provided by Cornell Cooperative Extension.
Eligible recipients must be age 60 or older and meet the income eligibility requirement$1,832 or less per month for a single or $2,470 per month for a couple— or affirm that they are currently receiving or eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or public assistance or Section 8 housing subsidy. Recipients cannot have received Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program checks from any other location.