Low-income seniors eligible for $50 towards the purchase of fruits, vegetables, herbs and honey this summer.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture announced that the Missouri Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is up and running for the summer. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services, the SFMNP assists low-income seniors in obtaining fresh, Missouri Grown produce and generates more than $200,000 for the farmers’ market community. Through the program, more than 4,100 households may benefit.

“We have focused on addressing food insecurity in creative ways and this is just one example of that work,” said Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn. “By partnering with the state’s Area Agencies on Aging, we will unlock potential for Missouri agriculture. Our farmers’ markets offer a unique opportunity to not only benefit farmers, but also to support the local economy.”

Low-income seniors in the Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield and Mid-Missouri regions can apply to receive vouchers that will allow them to purchase eligible foods from an authorized farmer at a Missouri farmers’ market. A total of up to 10 vouchers worth $5 each may be issued to each qualifying Missouri household. To identify the regions that contained the highest number of eligible citizens, the Department of Agriculture worked with the Missouri Department of Social Services.

Seniors are encouraged to consider using a proxy to both apply for vouchers and purchase eligible foods at a farmers’ market. Each senior may designate one proxy on their behalf. The senior and the proxy must both sign the program application in order to receive the vouchers.

Seniors may apply for vouchers at the following locations:

• Springfield – SeniorAge Area Agency on Aging, (417) 862-0762

• St. Louis County and St. Louis City – Aging Ahead, (636) 207-0847

• Kansas City – University of Missouri Extension, (816) 380-8460

• Columbia – Aging Best, (573) 443-5823

The Department’s Missouri Grown team has trained and authorized nearly 200 farmers to participate in the program. Authorized farmers will be identified by a sign that states the booth is proudly participating in the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. Benefit vouchers may be used to purchase fresh, raw, unprepared foods grown in Missouri and sold at a farmers’ market. Eligible foods include fruits, vegetables, fresh cut cooking herbs and honey.

Vouchers will be available through Sept. 30 and must be redeemed by Oct. 31. Farmers interested in learning more about eligibility and participation should email the Department of Agriculture at FarmersMarket@mda.mo.gov.

To learn more about the Missouri Department of Agriculture or its programs, visit Agriculture.Mo.Gov.