Fresh fruit, vegetable vouchers serve seniors
Special to the Enquirer
The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, federally funded and administered by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries’ Farmers Market Authority Section, provides eligible seniors with $30 in vouchers to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from certified farmers at farmers markets and farm stands in the state of Alabama.
Signups for the SFMNP are now open. This program has limited funding, and food benefits are available on a first–come, first–served basis until available funds are exhausted.
Seniors are encouraged to complete an application as soon as possible. They must:
–Be 60 years of age or older on the day of application.
–Have a gross household income not exceeding $1,756 monthly for a household of one; $2,371 monthly for a household of two; or the limits noted at http://fma.alabama.gov/SeniorNutrition for more than two people in the household.
Applicants must apply online at http://fma.alabama.gov; applications cannot be taken over the phone or by mail.
If seniors need assistance or do not have access to a computer, they are encouraged to ask a relative, friend, church member, etc., to complete the application for them with information provided by the senior.
If approved, vouchers will be mailed to the address provided on the application. Vouchers are usually mailed in late May or early June.
Applicants must reapply every year.
Following the application submission, a confirmation page will appear on the screen stating the application has been successfully submitted, but “successfully submitted” does not guarantee the application has been received. Therefore, it is strongly suggested seniors print or save the confirmation page for their records to verify they did submit an application.
If the senior does not meet eligibility requirements, a message stating the application has been rejected will appear.
If the applicant believes an error has been made on the application, they should email firstname.lastname@example.org. They should not submit another application.
Vouchers can be used to purchase fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, honey and cut herbs. Each SFMNP voucher is worth $6, and each voucher booklet has five vouchers, for a total of $30.
Farmers who accept vouchers should have the “Farmers Market Nutrition Program” sign on display.
Seniors cannot receive change from a voucher. If the purchase is less than the amount of one or more vouchers, the farmer will add more fruits and vegetables of the customer’s choice to make up the difference.
Vouchers cannot be used to buy non-produce items and cannot be used at a grocery store or any location that is not listed on the redemption site.
Vouchers can be redeemed at state-certified farmers’ markets, farm stands and u–pick operations. To view a list by county, visit http://www.fma.alabama.gov/FMCounty.aspx or http://agi.alabama.gov/docs/fma/RedemptionSites.
For more information about the SFMNP, visit http://fma.alabama.gov or call 334–240-7247.