The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) announced recently that Massachusetts has been awarded $1,410,222 to expand the highly popular Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP). The award was granted by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
The $1.4 million grant award will allow MDAR to increase the level of benefit for seniors participating in the SFMNP from $25 to $50. The increase in funding will also allow MDAR to serve an additional 2,300 seniors and disabled individuals over the next two years.
The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is a seasonal, annual program providing low-income seniors with coupons to purchase fresh, locally grown fruits, vegetables, fresh-cut herbs, and honey from Massachusetts farmers. Every year, coupons are spent at over 300 farmers’ markets and farmstands across the state.
The SFMNP is administered thanks to the 23 Elder Nutrition Programs across the state that distribute coupons throughout their service areas. Every summer, coupons are distributed to eligible participants at senior centers, councils on aging, and senior housing sites across the Commonwealth. Eligible seniors must be 60 years of age or older or disabled, living in senior housing where congregate nutrition services are provided, and with household incomes below 185% of the federal poverty level. Coupons are distributed from July through the end of September every year. For more information about SFMNP, visit the MDAR program website. Learn more about program eligibility here.