City to low-income seniors: Apply now for farmers market produce checks
Today the Seattle Human Services Department announced that the re-opening of their popular Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP). The program allows older low-income residents to apply for one-time $40 “checks” (vouchers) 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 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.”
In 2021, the department received 8,185 applications and distributed approximately 7,000 vouchers to eligible applicants whose applications were complete. This year, if the number of completed applications exceeds available funds, they will be entered into a random selection process. People selected at random will receive their vouchers by mail in July 2022.
Downloadable application forms are available in 11 languages at www.agingkingcounty.org/SFMNP/. In addition, there’s a new online application that saves applicants time and doesn’t require a postage stamp. Applications must be submitted (postmarked, if mailed) 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, our community partners pivoted to provide groceries and meals to thousands of older people who were 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 Connectionand then for Fresh Bucks, a City of Seattle healthy food program that helps Seattle residents afford fruits and vegetables.
The Washington State Farmers Market Association provides a searchable list of local markets. Contact individual markets to determine if they accept SFMNP vouchers, SNAP/EBT and/or Fresh Bucks.