The federally funded Senior farmers Market Nutrition Program provides low-income seniors with coupons they can use at farmers markets, roadside stands and community supported agriculture programs. Missouri is one of only seven states that do not participate in the program. Kansas has been participating in the program since 2006, and all of Missouri’s neighboring states offer it.
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Bring the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program Back to Missouri
Senior farmers Market Nutrition Program is a federally funded program that provides low-income seniors with coupons they can use to purchase eligible foods at farmers markets, roadside stands and community supported agriculture programs. It also generates income for farmers and boosts local economies.
Why it Matters
Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program strengthens local economies because it injects hundreds of thousands of federal dollars at Missouri farmers markets.
Missouri is one of just 7 states that don’t participate in the program, putting our farmers at a disadvantage. The federal government provides grants to states to cover program costs.
- Sales of local foods in Missouri communities generated 40-45% greater indirect economic activity than conventional foods, according to recent findings from University of Missouri researchers. (Economic Impacts of Local Food Systems in the Rural Midwest, 2014)
- Missouri has missed out on at least $3.6 million in benefits and additional economic activity by not participating in since 2005.
- Nearly 13% of Missouri seniors were food insecure in 2014, placing them at risk for hunger. (The State of Senior Hunger in America in 2015)
- Qualifying elderly households are far less likely to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (food stamps) than others.
- Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers typically add up to about $30 per person per year.
- Eighteen states manage the program through their Department of Agriculture, including Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska and Texas, among others.
- Double Up Food Bucks is a privately-funded dollar-matching incentive program for SNAP recipients and is currently operating in 25 Missouri farmers markets. It could be extended to match Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program benefits, leveraging an even larger economic boost at no cost to the state.
Contact your Missouri legislators today and urge them to support Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program.