We are fortunate in this area to have access to so much homegrown produce — from maple syrup to onions, to fresh peaches and sweet corn. This time of year there are many opportunities to take advantage of the local harvests at farmer’s markets. Fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, eggs, honey and cheese can all be found nearby and in usually in abundance.
Farmer’s markets also provide consumers with the opportunity to purchase homegrown produce straight from the farmer. Consumer demand for locally-grown produce has grown in recent years and the state has worked to make local produce more accessible to low-income residents through the Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program, Taste NY and agritourism initiatives. All of these policies work to help promote locally grown produce and educate the public about where food comes from.
Once again, this year’s state budget included the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program This program directly supports farmers and helps income eligible seniors purchase locally-grown produce. Residents who are 60 and older may apply and receive coupons that can be redeemed for fresh produce at participating farmers’ markets. Each coupon booklet enables residents to purchase $20 worth of fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables from local farmers’ markets.
The program receives funding from state and federal governments and is managed locally by county Offices for the Aging. This is the third year in a row state funds have been used in combination with federal dollars since the program’s inception in 2004. This year’s state budget allocated $500,000 to the program, on top of the federal $1.7 million portion, which is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Offices for the Aging distribute the coupon booklets and those who qualify have to pick them up in person. To find out more, Onondaga County residents may call (315) 435-2362. Transportation is available in some cases to nutrition sites. Other senior nutrition programs are also available to those who qualify.
To find a farmers’ market nearby, call your local town, village or city offices, or the Chamber of Commerce, or visit the New York State Department of Agriculture’s website at on.ny.gov/293HX95. Supporting your neighborhood farmer will ensure your food supply is kept local.
If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (315) 598-5185. You also can find me on Facebook.
Jul 20, 2017
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