Program designed to help food-insecure seniors at farmers’ markets
|FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 21, 2022) – A program designed to improve nutrition for low-income Kentucky seniors is seeing changes this year to create more opportunity for food insecure seniors. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s (KDA) Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) received a grant increase and is updating its redemption system to provide better flexibility for participants.|
The grant funding increased to $529,483 this year, a $29,254 increase from last year’s budget of $500,229. SFMNP participants now will use a program voucher card or phone app with $48 allotted for each qualifying individual to use during the 2022 farmers’ market season. The $48 can be used to make qualified purchases through Oct. 31, 2022.
“The Senior’s Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture is one of the most rewarding programs we offer,” Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles said. “Advocating for our vulnerable seniors to have access to freshly-grown, nutritious foods is the backbone of this program. These new changes will make this process easier, more efficient and allow additional Kentucky county markets to participate in this program.”
Last year, the senior nutrition program was available in June. This year, it begins in July as the cards and apps are being circulated to the marketing managers and distribution agencies in June. The financial institution allocating the national SFMNP funds requires the participants to use the new electronic voucher cards or smart phone app, as paper vouchers are no longer processed. These changes provide seniors with a more flexible and enjoyable experience shopping with quicker transaction times for farmers and senior participants.
The program provides voucher cards for eligible seniors to purchase fresh, unprocessed, locally-grown fruits, vegetables, cut cooking herbs, and honey at state-approved farmers’ markets. In addition to helping seniors improve access to nutrition, the program helps participating farmers gain market access across the state. This year there are 103 certified farmers’ markets participating in the program.
Funding for Kentucky’s SFMNP comes from federal and state resources. KDA serves as the lead agency to distribute the cards to seniors. Cards are issued on a first-come basis and can be used through October. To be eligible for this program, participants must be 60 years old plus one day at the date of issuance, be able to provide their proof of address, and meet income qualifications. To learn more about the program and eligibility or for a list of distribution agencies, visit the senior farmers’ market page on KDA’s website or contact KDA employees Jesse Frye at (502)382-7458 or Tina Garland at (502)382-7505. KDA also administers additional nutrition supplemental programs for eligible seniors.
For more information go to: https://www.kyagr.com/consumer/documents/FD_CSFP_Local_Agencies_Contact.pdf or call (502) 782-9231.