Older Adult Farmers Market Produce Checks Coming Soon
On Monday, April 11, Aging and Disability Services begins accepting applications for its 2022 Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP). This popular program allows older low-income residents to apply for one-time $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, WA and must have low incomes. Specifically, King County residents who meet the age requirement and have monthly incomes at or below $2,096 if they live alone or $2,823 for a household of two (add $728 per person for larger households) are encouraged to apply.
“Thousands of older people in our communities don’t have reliable access to affordable, nutritious food—and as a result, their health suffers,” said Mary Mitchell, interim director of the Seattle Human Services Department’s Aging and Disability Services division, which 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. Also, the program encourages older people to visit our amazing open-air farmers markets, see the fresh, nutritious locally grown fruits and vegetables, walk, and talk with neighbors and vendors.”
SFMNP applications are available online (www.agingkingcounty.org/SFMNP/) in English and in languages most prevalent in our region—Chinese (both simplified and traditional), Khmer, Korean, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese. This year, there is also an online application option.
Because funds are limited, completed applications will be entered into a random selection process. People selected at random will receive their vouchers/checks by mail in July 2022.
Printed applications must be completed and postmarked on or before April 29, 2022.
“Aging and Disability Services supports better nutrition for older people in many ways,” Mitchell added. “Year-round, we fund meals at senior centers and other community settings as well as home-delivered meals, like Meals on Wheels. During the pandemic, we helped our community partners pivot to provide groceries and meals to thousands of 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 (toll-free) 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.
This article originally appeared in the April 2022 issue of AgeWise King County.