Helping Seniors Eat Well for Less

For seniors living on a fixed income, eating healthy, wholesome foods can be hard to prioritize. Programs like the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) can help low income seniors by providing coupons that can be exchanged for produce at local farmers’ markets. Bobby Wilson ofMetro Atlanta Urban Farm, a WWG partner and participating SFMNP farmer, recently shared some insights from his experience working with seniors.

How do you see seniors benefit from WWG’s incentive programs like Double Up?
Bobby Wilson: It enables them to stretch their food dollar and get higher quality produce. They are not only able to purchase and prepare enough for themselves, but they are able to invite guests, family members over to enjoy a healthy, wholesome meal.

How do you explain Double Up? Do you use different messaging for seniors?
BW: I try to keep it real simple: if you spend a dollar, you get another dollar of produce free – up to $50, you get $100. It’s doubling your buck. I keep it simple in terms of explanation.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle in getting seniors to visit the market? How do you keep them coming back?
BW: Transportation is definitely the biggest obstacle in getting to and from the market. [Some senior organizations/centers organize vans to bring them on “field trips” to the farm.] Seniors seem to enjoy special events at the farm and field trips with educational programs and cooking demonstrations; they enjoy sitting under the old oak tree and reminiscing about old times and farms they grew up on.

Which items are most popular for seniors?
BW: They usually go for the seasonal veggies – beans, greens, peas. And the younger folks move towards fruits – peaches, plums. [foods that are ready to eat, require little preparation] There is a great need for teaching the younger generation to prepare vegetables in a wholesome, tasty way for themselves and their kids – it’s so desperately needed in their diets.

How does the farm benefit from partnering with WWG and being able to offer the Double Up incentive?
BW: The signage [WWG provided] has worked to get people to stop by. Other organizations are starting to send their clients, like SafeLink and the Hosea Williams Feed the Hungry program. We’re able to move more produce at one given time. We often have a surplus, so it helps put that produce to good use and get a fair return on our input into the farm – that’s one of the biggest benefits.

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Wholesome Wave is hosting a webinar “Fundraising for Incentive Programs – a NNIN Webinar” onNov 3, 2015 1:00 PM EST. Register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7623657754975870721

This webinar will discuss major fundraising opportunities for nutrition incentive programs, particularly the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program through USDA, how to raise your “match” for this opportunity, and best practices for applying to federal funding sources.

This webinar is designed for nutrition incentive program operators. A link to the recorded webinar will be sent to all registrants after the event, although it is recommend to attend live to get specific questions answered.