|Customers peruse vegetables and fruits and a local farmers market|
Money included in this year’s state budget will provide free farm-fresh fruits and vegetables from area farmers markets to 110,000 seniors from across the state.
The money will also help area farmers by allowing them to sell more products and will help the seniors eat healthy and boost their nutritional intake.
As part of her “Grown in New York” initiative, state Sen. Patricia Ritchie, R-Oswegatchie, chair of the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, sought the new funding to expand the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, which gives $20 coupons to low-income seniors that can be redeemed at Farmers Markets across the state.
“We are all living longer, and good nutrition is important to a healthy lifestyle. But studies show that only one in three seniors are regularly buying and eating fresh, quality produce, like that which is grown by local farmers and available right now at area Farmers Markets,” Ritchie said.
“That’s why I worked this year to expand the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program so that more seniors, living on fixed budgets, won’t have to choose between healthy eating and balancing their checkbooks.
Coupon booklets will be made available over the next few weeks through local county Offices for the Aging. The coupons can be redeemed for purchases at local farmers markets.
Ritchie has published a full schedule of local markets on her website— www.ritchie.nysenate.gov —and distributed more than 60,000 printed copies, as part of her continuing effort to connect consumers and local farmers, and support the Northern and Central New York agriculture economy.
The new funding in this year’s budget allows 110,000 low-income seniors to access the Senior Farmers Market Nutritional Program statewide.
Eligible seniors can earn up to $1,800 a month, or $2,426 for a couple.