Low-income elderly to receive free farmers’ market checks

Farmers’ market checks, totaling $1.5 million, are being distributed across the state as part of the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program.

Made possible with funding from the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, the program provides checkbooks worth $20 to low-income elderly New Yorkers to purchase fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. In upstate communities, checks will be available at county Area Agencies on Aging.

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.

Nearly 100,000 booklets consisting of five $4 checks are being distributed, and can be used 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 may be used at participating farmers’ markets through Nov. 30 of this year.

Eligible recipients must meet the income eligibility requirement, or affirm that they are currently receiving or eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income or public assistance or Section 8 housing subsidy. Recipients cannot have received FMNP checks from any other location.

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, go online to www.data.ny.gov

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