Thursday, August 24, 2017

Farmers' Market Nutrition Program Benefits Available Now

Farmers' Market Nutrition Program benefits are now available for eligible families and seniors across the state. 

The program provides checks to be redeemed at participating farmers' markets and farm stands now through the end of November for the purchase of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. 

In addition, eligible New Yorkers can use their checks at even more farm stands this year. The number of farm stands participating in the program has nearly doubled in two years, from 40 in 2015 to 77 so far this year.

"Increasing awareness and accessibility to healthy, nutritious food is critical to the health and well being of families across the state," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. "When New Yorkers eat fresh, local produce, it not only makes for healthier communities, but spurs the state's agricultural industry, creating a stronger New York for all."

Farmers Market Nutrition Program 
A total of $6 million in FMNP benefits are available to families through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children

About 250,000 booklets consisting of six $4.00 checks, or a total of $24, will be distributed this year, allowing for the purchase of fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables from over 900 farmers vending at over 600 farmers' markets and farm stands across the state.

Checks are available to eligible families at nearly 400 sites across New York State and at WIC clinic locations. A pocket folder with instructions on how and where to use the checks to purchase fresh, local fruits and vegetables from farmers at the market will be included with each booklet. 

Checks can be used at participating farmers' markets and farm stands through November 30 of this year.

Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program
The $2.5 million Senior FMNP provides checks to eligible individuals age 60 and older to purchase $20 worth of produce. Program benefits are provided on an individual basis instead of per household, also expanding the reach of the program to older New Yorkers. 
In upstate communities, checks are now available at county Offices for the Aging.

Eligible recipients must be age 60 or older and meet the income eligibility requirement$1,860 or less per month for a single or $2,504 per month for a couple — or affirm that they are currently receiving or eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income, or public assistance or Section 8 housing subsidy. Recipients cannot have received Farmers' Market Nutrition Program checks from any other location this season.

The Senior and WIC FMNP are administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, in cooperation with the state Office for the Aging and the state Department of Health. The programs are funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and New York state. Nutrition education is provided by Cornell Cooperative Extension.

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