Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP)

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Offered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Services, the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provides benefits to low-income seniors to increase access to fresh, locally-grown, nutritious food while dually supporting local agriculture and consumption of local foods. The SFMNP program awards states, U.S. territories, and Indian Tribal Organizations with funding to provide qualifying seniors with vouchers that can be exchanged at participating farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture (CSA) programs. Eligible food items include fresh, unprepared, and locally-grown fruits, vegetables, herbs, and honey.

Individuals eligible for the SFMNP program are low-income seniors, defined as individuals at least 60 years old and whose household income is not greater than 185% of the Federal poverty income guidelines. The benefit can be individual orSr. Market household, and ranges from $20-50 per year. In 2020, North Carolina had 3,265 participants in the program, with 456 farmers and 46 farmers’ markets being authorized to accept SFMNP vouchers.

In Lee County, SFMNP benefits are coordinated through Lee County Senior Services. Individuals interested in participating in the program can contact the Enrichment Center of Lee County to speak with Carole Nicely, who can help individuals determine their eligibility. Once vouchers are available, SFMNP benefits will be accepted at the Sanford Farmers’ Market this year. N.C. Cooperative Extension will be coordinating efforts to ensure the SFMNP and other food and nutrition programs will be available at farmers’ markets in the future.

For more information on the SFMNP program, other food and nutrition programs, or connecting with local foods in our community, please contact N.C. Cooperative Extension at the Lee County Center office and ask for Meredith Favre, our new Local Foods Agent, for more information.