To the Stanislaus County Area Agency on Aging, a coupon is more than just a piece of paper.
Rather, the Seniors Farmers Market coupon booklet the organization has distributed to local seniors for over a decade helps promote healthy eating amongst older adults and provides an economic boost to local farmers.
“I think it’s a win-win for us,” said Agency on Aging manager Jill Erickson. “It serves as a farmer subsidy by encouraging people to shop in Stanislaus County and it also helps seniors eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
“We aim to help seniors with low income especially, since the first thing they often omit from their budget is fresh fruits and vegetables,” added Erickson.
Although the Stanislaus County Area Agency on Aging will be handling distribution, the coupons are made available through the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program.
“The California Department of Food and Agriculture teamed up with the Department of Aging so that they can help promote seniors eating more fresh fruits and vegetables while also promoting farmers markets in order to get more fresh fruits and vegetables at markets,” explained Erickson.
The program provides low-income seniors with check booklets that can be applied towards purchases of fresh fruits, vegetables, cut herb and honey at Certified Farmers Markets. Each booklet contains $20 worth of coupons.
During the Turlock Certified Farmers Market on Saturday, Erickson reports that her department will be distributing approximately 150 booklets on a first come, first served basis. Coupon booklets will also be distributed at the Patterson Farmers Market on June 24, the Oakdale Farmers Market on July 1 and the Hughson Farmers Market on July 9.
To be eligible to receive a coupon booklet, seniors must be 60 years and older, live in Stanislaus County and have a limited income of $1,800 per month or less for an individual and $2,426 per month or less for a household of two. Only one booklet can be obtained for each eligible senior on an annual basis.
Coupons will be available at the Turlock Certified Farmers Market from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Saturday and can be used until the end of November at any certified farmers market in Stanislaus County. For more information on the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program coupons, call the Senior Information Line at 558-8698.