State Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, announced Thursday that funding in this year’s state budget will provide free farm-fresh fruits and vegetables from area farmers markets to seniors in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany and Livingston counties.
The State Legislature appropriated $2 million to support the Farm-to-Seniors initiative as a way to boost nutrition and healthy eating, and also strengthening the bottom lines of New York farmers. The program provides coupon booklets featuring five $4 checks that can be redeemed for the purchase of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets and farm stands across the state. The funding expands the reach for the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Young, who serves on the Senate’s Agriculture Committee, helped sponsor the initiative earlier this year as part of the Senate’s “Grown in New York” program. The funding allows 110,000 low-income seniors to access the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutritional Program statewide. The total value of the coupons in the 57th Senate District is more than $63,460.
Coupon booklets will be made available through each county’s Offices for the Aging. The program is open to seniors who are 60 and or older, with monthly incomes of $1,800 or less for an individual, or $2,426 or less for a couple.
Information on farmers’ markets in each county, including times and dates can be found at: http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/ap/communityfarmersmarkets.asp.