The Decatur Farmers Market has been chosen to be a site for the USDA’s Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program this year! This grant provides low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for fresh fruits and vegetables with authorized farmers at local farmers markets. This project came to the Decatur Farmers Market as a partnership between the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Georgia Department of Public Health, and Wholesome Wave Georgia.
The goals of this program are to provide fresh, nutritious, locally-grown fruits, vegetables, herbs, and honey from farmers markets to low-income seniors and to aid in developing and expanding local farmers markets. Eligible participants in the program are those that are at least 60 years old and who have household incomes of not more than 185% of the Federal poverty income guidelines.
Participating seniors first attend an information session at their housing center which includes a demonstration of how to prepare the local, seasonal produce that is available at the market, along with an explanation of the nutritional value and benefits of choosing locally-grown, seasonal produce.
The following week, the seniors visit the farmers market for a market tour, a demonstration on doubling their SNAP benefits at the market, and for the distribution of their vouchers with an introduction to our authorized farmer – Ronnie Mathis from Mountain Earth Farms in Clarkesville, Georgia
In Decatur, this program will run through July and August and will provide 200 seniors with $20 vouchers, that are then doubled to $40 through a partnership with Wholesome Wave Georgia, to bring a total of $8,000 into our farmers market. Nationwide, this program serves almost 800,000 seniors purchasing local produce grown by about 20,000 farmers at almost 4.000 farmers markets annually.
For more information, contact the CFM Director of Educational Programming at firstname.lastname@example.org.