Individual farm stands in New York this year for the first time will be able to join farmers' markets and participate in the federal Women, Infant, Children program.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball and Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard A. Zucker said changes in federal regulations allow farm stands to take part in WIC. This means people in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program will be able to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at farm stands this summer and fall.
“Hundreds of farmers at traditional farmers’ markets already participate in the WIC Vegetables and Fruits Check program, and this new innovation will allow individual farm stands to reach a new audience with world class, locally-produced fruits and vegetables,” said Ball. “Farm stands have flexible hours and can provide other opportunities such as ‘pick your own’ operations for WIC families.”
“The WIC program ensures that mothers and their young children have access to the food and resources essential to healthy living,” said Dr. Zucker. “This partnership gives more families the ability to eat well, and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables straight from the farm.”
The state Department of Health recently announced that children, and pregnant or breastfeeding women participating in WIC will receive an increase in the amount of fruit and vegetables that they can purchase each month. Through federal funds, WIC currently provides $8 per month for children and $10 per month for women to purchase fruits and vegetables of their choice.
Beginning in March 2015, the Health Department will use state funds to increase the benefit by $4 per check per month through September 2015.
At farm stands, vouchers may be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from farmers.