The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provides eligible older adults with $50 in coupons each growing season to use at participating farmers’ markets and roadside stands to purchase produce. It is a federally-funded program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services Agency and in Ohio, by the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA). The ODA provides additional state funds to support SFMNP operation within Ohio.
Last year, the Ohio State budget allowed for expansion of the SFMNP to all 88 counties and that support is continuing this year. As a result, AAA7 is seeking farmers to participate in the SFMNP in its 10 counties (Adams, Brown, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross, Scioto and Vinton). To become a participating farmer, the following criteria must be met:
· Must be an individual who grows and sells authorized, local produce, herbs and/or honey at farmers’ markets or road stands in the 10 counties mentioned beforehand.
· Participate in training for new farmers participating in the SFMNP.
· Follow and comply with guidelines and responsibilities as set forth by the Ohio SFMNP.
· Provide information to the appropriate oversight agencies about the farmers’ market/roadside stand including name, location, hours of operation, and other operational information.
· Meet set USDA regulations and meet any training requirements as determined.
“We at the Area Agency on Aging District 7 are committed to this exceptional program that helps seniors throughout our region,” said Nina R. Keller, executive director of the AAA7. “For the first time last year, we were able to expand the program to all of our 10-county region, improving the nutrition of older adults through increasing their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. This program is a win for the individual senior and for the farmer who can receive reimbursement for their locally grown produce. We encourage individuals who might be eligible and farmers who want to participate to contact us today!”
Any farmers who are interested can print an application online by visiting the AAA7’s website at www.aaa7.org. Farmers can also call the agency toll-free at 1-800-343-8112 with any questions or email FarmersMarket@aaa7.org to obtain an application.
Submitted by Jenni Lewis, director of community outreach and training, Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc.