My senior citizen dad’s biggest complaint about his local farmers market: “It’s too expensive!” But maybe that’s about to change. Yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced what we hope will be a good step forward for connecting New York seniors and local farmers state-wide — a $1.8 million initiative to get low-income senior citizens to farmers markets.
Through what has been dubbed the Farmers Market Nutrition Program, coupon booklets with five $4 checks (e.g., 20 bucks a pop) good for use at 470 community farmers markets across the state are to be doled out to more than 100,000 seniors on a tight budget (e.g., making less than $1,772 per month for a single resident, and less than $2,392/month for a couple). And as for the farmers, in order to qualify as vendors and take advantage of a new crop of customers, at least half of what they sell they must grown by them (which, of course, if you didn’t know, the NYC Greenmarket system requires participating farmers, fisherman, and what have you to grow or raise all of their sellables; dig it).
“The Farmers Market Nutrition Program … provides New Yorkers with access to fresh, locally grown produce,” said Cuomo in a press release. “Through this program, we are connecting more than 100,000 low-income seniors across the state with affordable, healthy food options in their communities and providing a boost to local economies and [the] agricultural sector.” A list of markets participating can be found here.