Governor Cuomo Announces $1.5 Million Available Through the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program

On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that $1.5 million in farmers’ market checks are being distributed across the state as part of the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. Made possible with funding from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, the program provides checkbooks worth $20 to low-income New Yorkers age 60 and older to purchase fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. In upstate communities, checks will be available at county Area Agencies on Aging. In New York City, checks can be picked up at congregate meal sites designated by the NYC Department for the Aging, as well as through Commodity Supplemental Food Programs run through the State Department of Health.

“By providing low-income seniors with the means to purchase fresh, homegrown food, we are empowering thousands of New Yorkers to lead healthier lives while also supporting local farmers’ markets across the state,” Governor Cuomo said. “I am proud to join our federal partners to make this program a success, and I encourage all eligible New Yorkers to explore a farmers’ market near them this summer.”
Checks are available for low-income New Yorkers 60 or over, earning $1,800 or less per month for a single or $2,426 per month for a couple. The program provides them with the means to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers selling at community farmers’ markets.

Nearly 100,000 booklets consisting of five $4.00 checks are being distributed, and can be used to purchase fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables from 950 farmers vending at 500 community farmers’ markets across the state. The program is administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, in cooperation with the New York State Office for the Aging, the New York City Department for the Aging and the New York State Department of Health. Checks can be used at participating farmers markets through November 30 of this year.

Eligible recipients must be age 60 or older and meet the income eligibility requirement, or affirm that they are currently receiving or eligible to receive one of the following benefits:

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Public assistance or Section 8 housing subsidy.
Recipients cannot have received FMNP checks from any other location.

Senator Gillibrand, the first New Yorker to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly four decades, said, “This investment will go a long way to ensuring more seniors have access to fresh, nutritious foods while boosting our local and regional agriculture. Farmers markets across our state are a great way for seniors to enjoy local, affordable fresh produce while supporting our agricultural communities.”

Congresswoman Nita Lowey said, “New Yorkers take pride in what they produce, and our seniors should have access to the freshest locally-grown fruits and vegetables in order to further a healthy lifestyle and support New York’s agriculture economy. As the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, I have fought for additional funding for the Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition program and other important nutrition programs like it and will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress and Governor Cuomo to make sure that seniors will be able to benefit from healthy, locally grown foods.”

A pocket folder with instructions on how and where to use the checks to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers at the market will be included with each checkbook.

For a listing of farmers’ markets across the state, please visit www.data.ny.gov.

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