By Erin Freeman | Lynnwood Times Staff
Snohomish County has announced the seasonal return of the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP).
The United States Department of Agriculture‘s (USDA) grant program provides age 60+ and income-eligible Snohomish County seniors with 10 $4 voucher checks to exchange for locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables from participating farmers’ markets while aiming to increase awareness and use of farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community-supported agriculture.
“In addition to supporting the local economy and farmers, the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program benefits older adults by improving access to locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables and engaging participants in their communities,” said Homage Senior Services Senior Nutrition Manager Leah Hammon. “Visiting a local market offers great opportunities for recreation, socialization, and physical activity for all ages.”
This year’s applications for the SFMNP have been extended to June 12. Vouchers can be used until October 31 and can be redeemed at any participating farmers market in Snohomish County.
Homage Senior Services manages Snohomish County’s SFMNP, in collaboration with the Washington Department of Social and Health Services Division of Aging and Long-Term Support Administration. The federal grant program came to Washington State in 1992, and Homage Senior Services has been participating in the SFMNP since the county secured funding for the program in 1994, says Hammon.
In 2019, Homage distributed the vouchers to over 1,800 eligible Snohomish County residents. Funds are limited, so a lottery selection process is used to select recipients of the $40 vouchers.
To allow Homage to focus on its COVID-19 response and the increased demand for its additional meal services, the Snohomish County Division of Long-Term Care and Aging Department is managing this year’s distribution of applications and vouchers.
“There’s a lot of coordination between them to get folks served and get the vouchers out this year,” explained Hammon. “I think that there’s been tremendous support from both them and the community we serve. It’s a nice silver lining with everything going on.”
To learn more about eligibility requirements, visit https://homage.org/nutrition/senior-farmers-market-nutrition-program/.