June 7, 2005
Farmers Market Nutrition Program Opens
HARRISBURG, Pa., June 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff today announced the start of the 2005 Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP). From June 1 through November 30, eligible seniors, and Women, Infant and Children (WIC) participants can redeem vouchers for fresh produce at participating farms, farmers markets and roadside stands.
"The Farmers Market Nutrition Program exemplifies how Pennsylvania and the federal government can work together to support local farmers and provide fresh, nutritious produce for residents," said Wolff. "It's a win-win situation for all involved."
According to Wolff, the program is a $5.2 million joint effort funded through a $2 million contribution from the commonwealth, $1.9 million from the federal WIC program, and $1.3 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant funds. More than 230,000 people statewide receive assistance through FMNP.
Under the established guidelines, WIC participants, and income-eligible seniors receive four checks totaling $20 to purchase Pennsylvania fruits and vegetables. There are more than 825 FMNP participating farmers at 469 farm stands and 156 farmers markets across the state.
Checks may not be used for any processed foods such as jams, honey, nuts, cider or baked goods. Similarly, they do not include citrus or tropical fruits, such as bananas, oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, tangerines, pineapple or mangos. Only crops grown in Pennsylvania are eligible.
In order to qualify, seniors must be 60 years of age and older and meet income requirements during the program year. The income requirement for a single person is $17,705, while couples can earn no more than $23,736 (based on total income). WIC recipients must be deemed eligible by their local agency. Generally, pregnant, breastfeeding or postpartum women, and children ages three and four qualify.
Eligible state residents should contact their local Area Agency on Aging or WIC agency for further information, including locations, dates and times of check distribution. Those interested in enrolling as a participating farm, farmers market or roadside stand should visit http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us and click on 'Producers.'
Posted by Lisa at June 7, 2005 12:10 PM
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