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Local News August 1, 2013  RSS feed

Helping NYC To Seniors Get A Taste Of The Farm

Benefits To Buy Fruits And Vegetables

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced more than $1.8 million to provide low-income senior New Yorkers with access to farmers’ markets across New York.

The funding will provide over 100,000 seniors with access to healthy food at 470 farmers’ markets through the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP). New York State operates one of the largest such programs in the nation.

“The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is an important resource that provides New Yorkers with access to fresh, locally grown produce while also supporting the local economies and agricultural sector,” Cuomo said. “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 farmers bringing their products to market in every region of the state. I encourage all eligible New Yorkers to take advantage of this program and see what New York’s farmers have to offer.”

More than 100,000 booklets consisting of five $4 checks are being distributed, and can be used to purchase fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables from 950 farmers vending at 470 community farmers’ markets across the state.

The program is administered by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, in cooperation with the state Office for the Aging, state Department of Health Commodity Supplemental Food Program and Cornell Cooperative Extension. Checks can be used at participating farmers markets through Nov. 30.

In New York City, checks are issued by congregate meal sites under contract with the city Department for the Aging and two Commodity Supplemental Food Programs under contract with the state Department of Health.

Eligible recipients must be age 60 or older and meet the income eligibility requirement. Each household must affirm that they are low-income based on one of the following criteria:

• gross monthly income at or below 185 percent of Federal Poverty Guidelines ($1,772 per month for a one-person household, $2,392 per month for a two-person household and $3,011 per month for a three-person household); or

• currently receiving or eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), public assistance or Section 8 housing subsidy (recipients cannot have received FMNP checks from any other location).

In many neighborhood markets, the farmers who participate in the FMNP are an important source of scarcely available fresh fruits and vegetables. Participating farmers must grow at least half of what they are selling at the market(s) and items that are purchased by the farmer for resale, and exchanged for FMNP checks, must be locally grown. Farmers may cash or deposit the FMNP checks at any bank just like any other check.

State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine said, “Governor Cuomo’s commitment to promoting farmers’ markets across New York is paying dividends for our state’s agricultural industry. This initiative to promote healthy products to older New Yorkers will help farmers’ markets expand their customer base and help spur local economies.”

Greg Olsen, acting director of the state Office for the Aging, added, “A healthy diet consisting of New Yorkgrown fresh fruits and vegetables is paramount to one’s health and a contributor to maintaining one’s independence. The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is an important ingredient to help eligible older New Yorkers improve health outcomes, combat obesity and provide support to local farmers.

State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah said, “Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s initiative, low-income seniors across the state will have greater access to New York’s farm-fresh products. Fresh fruits and vegetables are essential to a healthy diet, and this program is another important step toward creating a healthier New York.”

For additional information, call 1-800-554-4501.

The checks can be used at the following farmers’ markets within the Times Newsweekly’s coverage area:

• Astoria Greenmarket, 14th Street between 31st Avenue and 31st Road, open Wednesdays from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. through Nov. 20;

• Bushwick I Farmers’ Market, Linden Street between Broadway and Bushwick Avenue, on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. through Nov. 13;

• Bushwick I Satellite Farmers’ Market, Myrtle Avenue and Grove Street, on Fridays from noon until 5 p.m. through Nov. 15;

• Bushwick II Satellite Farmers’ Market at Irving Square Park, Wilson Avenue and Halsey Street, on Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. through Nov. 16;

• Bushwick II/Maria Hernandez Farmers’ Market at Maria Hernandez Park, Knickerbocker Avenue and Starr Street, on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. through Nov. 16;

• Bushwick III Farmers’ Market, Broadway between Halsey and Thomas Boyland streets, on Thursdays from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. through Nov. 14;

• Bushwick III Satellite Farmers’ Market, Irving and Putnam avenues, on Thursdays from noon until 5 p.m. through Nov. 14;

• Cooper Park Farmers’ Market, Maspeth Avenue and Olive Street in East Williamsburg, on Sundays from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. through Nov. 24;

• Corona Greenmarket, Roosevelt Avenue and 103rd Street, open Fridays from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. through Nov. 22;

• Elmhurst Hospital Greenmarket, 41st Avenue between 80th and 81st streets, open Tuesdays from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. through Nov. 26;

• Forest Hills Greenmarket, south side of Queens boulevard at 70th Avenue, open Sundays from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. through Dec. 29;

• Greenpoint/McCarren Park Greenmarket, Union Avenue between Driggs Avenue and North 12th Street, on Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. year-round;

• Greenpoint/McGolrick Park Farmers’ Market, Russell Street and Nassau Avenue, on Sundays from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. through Dec. 29;

• Jackson Heights Greenmarket at Travers Park, 34th Avenue and 78th Street, on Sundays from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. year-round;

• Long Island City Youthmarket, Vernon Boulevard between 47th and 48th avenues, on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. through Oct. 23;

• Ridgewood Youthmarket at Ridgewood Veterans Triangle, Myrtle and Cypress avenues, on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. through Nov. 23;

• Socrates Sculpture Park, Vernon Boulevard and Broadway in Long Island City, on Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. through Nov. 23; and

• Sunnyside Greenmarket, Skillman Avenue between 42nd and 43rd streets, on Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. through Dec. 21.