Over the past few years, we worked long and hard with legislators and advocates across Missouri to bring the Missouri Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program back to the state. (It was already in place in Kansas) This announcement with details about the program gives us another opportunity to celebrate!
The Missouri Department of Agriculture announced that the Missouri Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is up and running for the summer. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services, the program assists low-income seniors in obtaining fresh, Missouri Grown produce and injects up to nearly $200,000 into the farmers’ market community. Through the program, more than 4,100 households may be touched.
“June is a great time to visit your local farmers’ market, with plenty of local fruits, vegetables and herbs in season.” said Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn. “Food is one of the most basic human needs, but we know that for some Missourians, it’s not a given. Through this program, we believe we can make nutritious food available to more Missouri households.”
Low-income seniors in the Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield regions can apply to receive vouchers that will allow them to purchase eligible foods from an authorized farmer at a Missouri farmers’ market. To identify the regions that contained the highest number of eligible seniors for the pilot program, the Department worked with the Missouri Department of Social Services.
Benefit vouchers may only be used to purchase fresh, raw and unprepared fruits and vegetables grown in Missouri and sold by an eligible farmer at a farmers’ market. A total of 10 vouchers worth $5 each may be issued to each qualifying Missouri household. Eligible farmers will be identified by a sign provided by the Department that states the booth is proudly participating in the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. Eligible foods include fruits, vegetables, fresh cut cooking herbs and honey.
Seniors may apply for vouchers at the following locations:
- Cultivate KC (Kansas City area)
- SeniorAge Area Agency on Aging (Springfield area)
- Aging Ahead (St. Louis area)
Vouchers will be available through Aug. 31 and must be redeemed by Sept. 30. 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 its programs, visit Agriculture.Mo.Gov.