HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — State agriculture leaders hope more local farmers markets get utilized in what its commissioner calls a “win-win-win” program for low-income senior citizens to receive $30 voucher debit cards to buy locally-grown produce for free.
Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries Commissioner Rick Pate speaks of the Senior Farmer Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP), which just opened its application process.
“It supports your local economy,” Pate said. “It’s also making sure seniors are getting fresh fruits and vegetables that haven’t been on a truck for two weeks. And then yeah, it’s helping that local farmer. We’ve really tried since I’ve been here the last three years to try to kind of grow that industry.”
This year, the program allows for 55,000 debit cards to be mailed, but it’s first-come first-serve basis through an online application only.
“We’ve done a lot of work with senior centers to try to encourage them to sign up,” Pate said. “There are people that use their facilities. I realize you do have to go online. And some seniors, surely they’ve got a child or grandchild or friends that could do it for them,” he added.