The popular Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) will open on Monday, April 8. This seasonal program allows older low-income residents to apply for $40 “checks” that can be exchanged for fresh produce at farmers markets throughout King County.
Qualified applicants are age 60 or older (age 55 or older if American Indian/Alaska Native) by June 30. They can live anywhere in King County and must have low incomes. Specifically, King County residents who meet the age requirement and have monthly incomes at or below $1,926 if they live alone or $2,607 for a household of two (add $681 per person for larger households) are encouraged to apply.
“We know that thousands of older people in our communities experience food insecurity—they don’t have reliable access to affordable, nutritious food—and that results in poor health,” said Jason Johnson, director of the Seattle Human Services Department, which includes Aging and Disability Services, a division that administers nutrition programs for older King County residents. “The annual Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program is one way that we help older people get the food they need,” he said.
“The program supports healthy aging in an age-friendly community,” Johnson said. “Seattle and King County have amazing farmers markets, with the freshest, most nutritious produce that money can buy. Fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables taste great, vendors are happy to talk with shoppers about meal preparation, and the markets are great places to walk and interact with people.”
SFMNP applications are available in 11 languages online at www.agingkingcounty.org/SFMNP. Because funds are limited, the first 8,000 applications received will be entered in a random selection process to determine recipients. Completed applications must be postmarked on or before May 10, 2019. All applicants will receive mail notification of their status on or before July 1.
“The City of Seattle supports better nutrition for older people in many ways,” Johnson added. “throughout the year, we fund meals at senior centers and other community settings. More than 30,000 older individuals take part. We also fund home-delivered meals—like Meals on Wheels—for several thousand older people who are unable to leave their homes to shop or prepare food.”
For information about SFMNP, other food programs, and other local services for older people, adults with disabilities, caregivers, and family members, call Community Living Connections at their toll-free number, 1-844-348-5464.
Low-income adults of any age can also apply for Washington State Basic Food Program (SNAP/EBT) through Washington Connection and then for Fresh Bucks, a City of Seattle program that matches SNAP/EBT benefits dollar for dollar at participating farmers markets.
The Washington State Farmers Market Association provides a searchable list of local markets. Contact individual markets to determine if they accept SFMNP vouchers and/or SNAP/EBT and Fresh Bucks.
Photo credit: The Seattle Farmers’ Market photot photo at the top of this page is by Kaushal Karkhanis, shared via Creative Commons, and cropped for use in this online publication.