Wolf Administration Reminds Seniors and Families of Farmers Market Nutrition Program for Access to Fresh, Local Produce
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – At the PA Open Air Farmers Market at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg today, Wolf Administration officials reminded low-income Pennsylvania seniors and recipients of the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program to obtain and use their Pennsylvania Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) vouchers to purchase fresh, local fruits, vegetables, and herbs from FMNP-approved farmers at farmers’ markets and farm stands across the Commonwealth.
“The Farmers Market Nutrition Program supports the health and well-being of seniors and families and helps facilitate even more connections and conversations between farmers and local communities, bringing neighbors together for food,” said Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “I encourage anyone who has program vouchers to use them to buy local food and know that you are supporting a local farming family when you do.”
From June through September, the WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition programs provide low-income seniors and eligible WIC program participants with vouchers to purchase fresh-cut, Pennsylvania-grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs at farmers’ markets and grocery stores. approved agricultural stands across the Commonwealth. In an effort to protect vulnerable Pennsylvanians, vouchers are being distributed to attendees of WIC clinics and regional agencies on aging.
The value of vouchers redeemed through the FMNP program and dollars directly supporting Pennsylvania farmers who participate in the program is more than $3 million annually.
“Many older Pennsylvanians live on fixed incomes. With the rising costs of food and other necessities, these Farmer’s Market Vouchers help support seniors by giving them access to fresh, nutritious foods that are beneficial to their health and well-being,” the secretary said. of aging Robert Torres. “I encourage eligible seniors who have not yet received their free Farmers’ Market vouchers to contact their local Aging Agency for any assistance they may need in obtaining them.”
To be eligible, seniors must be 60 by Dec. 31, 2022, and have incomes no more than 185% of the federal poverty level, which is currently $25,142 per year for a single person or $33,874 for a single person. two-person household. Eligible seniors can contact their local senior FMNP agency for more information on how to apply for vouchers. Women and children ages 6 months to 4 years who participate in WIC are eligible to receive vouchers under the WIC FMNP. For more information on how to receive their vouchers, WIC recipients should contact their local WIC agency. Each eligible recipient receives four checks for $6.00 to spend throughout the season. Participants can redeem vouchers from June 1 to November 30, 2022.
“We know providing access to healthy, affordable food is critical to helping families across Pennsylvania,” said Acting Secretary of Health and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Denise Johnson. “The WIC program offers Pennsylvanians the opportunity to learn, develop and train healthy eating habits that can have lifelong benefits. This program is an example of how the work of local farmers and available resources allow families to access fresh fruits, vegetables and other foods that support healthy lifestyles.”
The Department of Human Services received a grant from the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the United States Department of Agriculture to support access to fresh, healthy food for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) while supporting Pennsylvania’s agricultural economy. Interested Marketplace Owners should apply to be an Authorized SNAP Retailer through FNS. Once authorized to accept SNAP, sellers can contact Conduent, Pennsylvania’s Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) provider, at 1-888-736-6328 to request free wireless EBT processing equipment. The grant also covers setup costs and one year of SNAP transaction fees.
“By taking advantage of the opportunity for free EBT gear to accept SNAP, farmers markets can provide a new avenue for Pennsylvanians who rely on SNAP to spend their profits on fresh, nutritious foods,” said DHS Deputy Executive Secretary , Andrew Barnes. “And by helping Pennsylvanians keep food on the table, we’re supporting local food retailers and producers, easing the demand on charitable food systems, and most importantly, helping people achieve the better quality of life they deserve. .”
Applications for SNAP and other public assistance programs can be submitted online at www.compass.state.pa.us or by phone at 1-866-550-4355. On-site County Assistance Office (CAO) services are available if customers are unable to access online services or require assistance that cannot be accessed through the COMPASS website, mobile app myCOMPASS PA or by calling Customer Service Centers at 215-560-7226 for Customers in Philadelphia or 1-877-395-8930 for Customers in all other counties.
The Department of Agriculture offers a free FMNP Market Locator app for iOS and Android devices. The application is available for download on the Apple App Store and on the Google Play Store. Once loaded onto a mobile device, users can either activate their location services on the phone or manually enter a location (city, town, postcode) to find participating markets or nearby farm stalls. The app will show the market location, address, directions, phone number and hours.
Pennsylvania farmers interested in participating in FMNP and being part of the solution to food insecurity in the community are encouraged to apply. Currently, there are more than 1,050 licensed farmers at 828 farms and 344 farmers’ markets across the state.
For more information about FMNP or other Pennsylvania food security resources, visit agriculture.pa.gov/foodsecurity.
To note: Photos and videos of this event will be available on PAcast.com.
MEDIA CONTACT: Jack Eilber, Aging: firstname.lastname@example.org