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Fresh fruits, vegetables for seniors
Special to the News
Senior citizens in Alabama once again have the opportunity to apply for vouchers to purchase fresh produce locally, while also supporting local farmers.
The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, or SFMNP, is a federally funded program administered by the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries, Farmers Market Authority Section.
The SFMNP 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. Food benefits are available on a first-come, first serve basis until available funds are committed. Those eligible are encouraged to not delay and fill out an application as soon as possible to receive these seasonal benefits.
To be eligible, individuals must be 60 years old or older on the day they apply. Income guidelines also apply, and applicants’ gross household income must not exceed $1,756 monthly for a household of one or $2,371 monthly for a household of two.
For households with more than two people, visit http://fma.alabama.gov/SeniorNutrition to view income guidelines and eligibility.
Applicants must apply online at http://fma.alabama.gov. Unfortunately, they cannot accept applications over the phone or by mail.
Those who need assistance or do not have access to a computer may ask a relative, friend, church member, etc. to complete the application on their behalf with the information the eligible individual provides.
Additionally, local senior citizens who are eligible can contact the Coosa County Extension Office at 256-377-4713 for assistance in completing the online application process.
Approved individuals will receive vouchers by mail at the address provided on their applications. Applicants must reapply for the produce vouchers every year.
Approved applicants can use these vouchers to buy fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, honey, and cut herbs. The vouchers can be redeemed at state certified farmers’ markets, farm stands and U-pick operations.
To view a list of participating locations by county, visit www.fma.alabama.gov/FMCounty.aspx or http://agi.alabama.gov/docs/fma/RedemptionSites.
No farmers’ markets or farm stands are listed on the website for Coosa County. However, there are four U-pick operations listed in Coosa County where the vouchers could be used.
Those include Jack’s Blueberry Hill on County Road 2 in Equality, Neighbors Farms on Old Dark Road between Alexander City and Equality, Oakachoy Blueberry Farm on County Road 98 in Equality, and Rogers Berry Farm on Alabama Highway 9 in Goodwater. More information on each of these U-pick operations is available on the FMA website at www.fma.alabama.gov/FMCounty.aspx.
While the county does not have any listed farmers’ markets or farm stands, surrounding counties do have both types of locations where the vouchers can be used.
Vouchers cannot be used at a grocery store or any location that is not listed on the redemption site.