By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News
— Local farmers markets will soon be open for business, and with them come state programs to help senior citizens get fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Alabama Farmers Market Authority oversees the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), which is available to seniors age 60 and older.
The program allows low-income seniors to receive “fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs from farmers markets and roadside stands,” according to the Alabama Farmers Market Authority website.
By signing up for the program, seniors receive coupons that they redeem at farmers markets or stands. Farmers who accept the coupons display a “Farmers Market Nutrition Program” sign.
Monthly gross income limits for seniors to receive the coupons are:
Another component of the FMNP program is the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) FMNP.
WIC coupons are worth $4 each and the senior coupons are worth $6 each.
Change is not given from coupons; rather, if a purchase is made less than the amount of one or more coupons, the farmer will add more produce to make up the difference.
“Farmers market coupons are not an entitlement,” said Gardendale Senior Center Director Peggy Burgess.
Burgess is volunteering to help seniors age 60 and older sign up to receive the coupons. Call her at 631-7240.
At least three farmers markets are operating in the area this spring and summer.
Visit www.buylocalalabama.com for an application and more information about the Farmers Market Nutrition Program.