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Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program returns to Turlock
farmers market seniors
Senior coupon booklets will be available at the Turlock Certified Farmers Market from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. June 3 for those who qualify. - photo by Journal file photo

Senior citizens on a limited budget can once again receive assistance to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables through the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program.

This annual program makes farmers market coupons available to Stanislaus County residents who are 60 years or older and have a limited income ($1,815 a month for a one-person household, $2,456 for two person).

The $20 book of coupons (five, $4 coupons) will be distributed by the Stanislaus County Aging and Veterans Services Agency at local farmers markets. The Agency will be at the Turlock Certified Farmers Market from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. June 3, located at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds.

The coupons will be given out on a first come, first served basis. Between 100 and 150 coupon booklets will be distributed in Turlock. The coupons are good at any certified farmers market in Stanislaus County.

Jill Erickson, Aging and Veterans Services manager, said the program is very popular and they have already been getting calls about when the coupons will be distributed this year.

“It’s a win-win; it’s a farmer subsidy but also promoting seniors getting healthy food options,” she said. “It’s really important to promote fruits and vegetables; when you have a limited budget it’s hard to make the decision to spend a lot of money on fresh produce. You can get a lot of fruits and vegetables for just one of the $4 coupons to feed one person.”

The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program is part of the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, which awards grants to states, U.S. territories, and federally recognized Indian tribal governments to provide low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for eligible foods at farmers markets, roadside stands and community-supported agriculture programs.

The 2014 Farm Bill provided $20.6 million annually to operate the program through 2018. Throughout the country, 817,751 individuals received the senior farmers market coupons in 2015.