Wednesday, July 24, 2013

NYS Increases Access to Farmers' Markets for Low-Income Senior Citizens

News from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office:

The state is providing more than $1.8 million to provide low-income senior New Yorkers with access to farmers’ markets across New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the funding will provide more than 100,000 senior citizens with access to healthy food at 470 farmers’ markets through the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. New York state operates one of the largest such programs in the nation.

“The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is an important resource that provides New Yorkers with access to fresh, locally grown produce while also supporting the local economies and agricultural sector,” Cuomo said.

“Through this program, we are connecting more than 100,000 low-income seniors across the state with affordable, healthy food options in their communities and providing a boost to local farmers bringing their products to market in every region of the state," Cuomo said. "I encourage all eligible New Yorkers to take advantage of this program and see what New York’s farmers have to offer.”

More than 100,000 booklets consisting of five $4 checks are being distributed, and can be used to purchase fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables from 950 farmers vending at 470 community farmers’ markets across the state.

The program is administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, in cooperation with the New York State Office for the Aging, New York State Department of Health Commodity Supplemental Food Program, and Cornell Cooperative Extension. Checks can be used at participating farmers markets through Nov. 30.

In Upstate counties, Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program checks are issued by county-based offices for the aging. Eligible recipients must be age 60 or older and meet the income eligibility requirement. Each household must affirm that they are low-income based on one of the following criteria:

Gross monthly income at or below 185 percent of Federal Poverty Guidelines:
  • $1,772 per month for a one-person household
  • $2,392 per month for a two-person household
  • $3,011 per month for a three-person household
Or:
 

Currently receiving or eligible to receive one of the following benefits: Supplemental Security Income, public assistance, or Section 8 housing subsidy.

“This initiative to promote healthy products to older New Yorkers will help farmers’ markets expand their customer base and help spur local economies,” said Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Darrel Aubertine.

"A healthy diet consisting of New York grown fresh fruits and vegetables is paramount to one’s health and a contributor to maintaining one’s independence," said Greg Olsen, acting director of the state Office for the Aging. "The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is an important ingredient to help eligible older New Yorkers improve health outcomes, combat obesity and provide support to local farmers."

For more information, call (800) 554-4501. Go to  http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/AP/CommunityFarmersMarkets.asp for a list of farmers' markets.

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