Low-income seniors encouraged to use proxy system to safely purchase fruits, vegetables, herbs and honey this summer
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Agriculture announced that the Missouri Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) is up and running for the summer. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services, the SFMNP assists low-income seniors in obtaining fresh, Missouri Grown produce and generates more than $200,000 for the farmers’ market community. Through the program, more than 4,100 households may benefit.
“COVID-19 has reminded us of the importance of a strong connection between farmers, ranchers and consumers,” said Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn. “Farmers’ markets offer a unique opportunity to not only meet farmers in your area, but also to support the local economy.”
Low-income seniors in the Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield and Mid-Missouri regions can apply to receive vouchers that will allow them to purchase eligible foods from an authorized farmer at a Missouri farmers’ market. A total of up to 10 vouchers worth $5 each may be issued to each qualifying Missouri household. To identify the regions that contained the highest number of eligible citizens, the Department of Agriculture worked with the Missouri Department of Social Services.
Seniors are encouraged to consider using a proxy to both apply for vouchers and purchase eligible foods at a farmers’ market. Each senior may designate one proxy on their behalf. The senior and the proxy must both sign the program application in order to receive the vouchers.
Seniors may apply for vouchers at the following locations:
- Springfield – SeniorAge Area Agency on Aging, (417) 862-0762;
- Louis County and St. Louis City – Aging Ahead, (636) 207-0847;
- Kansas City – University of Missouri Extension, (816) 380-8460;
- Columbia – Aging Best, (573) 443-5823.
The Missouri Grown team has trained and authorized more than 175 farmers to participate in the program. Authorized farmers will be identified by a sign that states the booth is proudly participating in the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. Benefit vouchers may be used to purchase fresh, raw, unprepared foods grown in Missouri and sold at a farmers’ market. Eligible foods include fruits, vegetables, fresh cut cooking herbs and honey.
Vouchers will be available through Sept. 30 and must be redeemed by Oct. 31. Farmers interested in learning more about eligibility and participation should email the Department of Agriculture at FarmersMarket@mda.mo.gov.
To learn more about the Missouri Department of Agriculture or programs, visit Agriculture.Mo.Gov.