Farmers market program provides free produce to seniors
Special to the Enquirer
The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program is a federally-funded program to provide free fresh produce to seniors who sign up.
Administered by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries’ Farmers Market Authority Section, the SFMNP provides eligible seniors with a $30 benefit card to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from certified farmers at markets and stands across the state.
This program has limited funding, and food benefits are available on a first come, first served basis until available funds are committed.
Seniors are encouraged to complete an application as soon as possible. They must be 60 or older on the date of application and have a maximum monthly household income of $1,772 for a household of one or $2,396 for a household of two.
Seniors 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 or someone else to complete the application for them with information provided by the senior.
If approved, a benefit card will be mailed to the address provided on the application.
Applicants must reapply every year, and it is important to keep the benefits card, since new benefits will be loaded on the card each year after an application is received.
When purchasing Alabama-grown fresh fruits or vegetables from authorized farmers, present the benefit card just like a debit or credit card. The farmer will scan the card and enter the amount of the purchase. The customer will confirm the amount, and then the purchase is complete.
Benefits can be redeemed at state-certified farmers markets, farm stands and u-pick operations for the purchase of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, honey and cut herbs from May through Nov. 15, 2022. Benefits cannot be used at grocery stores or any location not listed on the redemption site. Sites in Morgan County include the Hartselle Farmers Market, the Morgan County/Decatur Farmers Market and the Church of the Good Shepherd Farmer and Artisan Market in Decatur.
For more information about the SFMNP, visit http://fma.alabama.gov or call 334-240-7247. For income limits for households with more than two people, visit http://fma.alabama.gov/SeniorNutrition.