On July 7, 2017, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture announced that, “Due to the lack of a state budget being enacted by the General Assembly by July 1, 2017, funding for the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) has been effectively eliminated.” This occurred after SFMNP checks were already distributed to senior citizens. Senior distribution sites were notified and farmers and Farmers’ Market Masters were instructed not to accept SFMNP checks going forward.
For CitySeed, a farm-focused nonprofit organization that runs four farmers’ markets and a mobile farmers’ market in New Haven, this represents a major reduction in customer ability to access fresh fruits and vegetables through farmers markets. Typically, each senior is given a booklet of $18 in SFMNP coupons to redeem at the farmers’ market or mobile market over the summer months. More than 40% of spending at CitySeed’s Fair Haven Farmers’ Market and more than 10% at their Downtown Market comes from SFMNP coupon redemption. For its Mobile Market, which goes specifically to senior housing sites and low-income neighborhoods with limited access to fresh produce, 70% of spending comes from customers redeeming SFMNP coupons.
Write or call your state legislator, with the general message:
“I am contacting you to ask you to restore funding for
the Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program.
The SFMNP helps Seniors access fresh, local food
across the state. Please protect the funds that
make this work possible.”
Spread the word! Share this story with your colleagues, friends, family, and neighbors, and encourage them to contact their state legislator.
Increase Seniors’ access to food: The Connecticut Food Bank is looking for organizations serving seniors that are interested in partnering with us to host the federal senior food program, CSFP (Commodity Supplemental Food Program). Program participants receive each month a box of USDA foods to supplement their groceries. To qualify, seniors must be over 60 years of age and fall within 130% of Federal Poverty Income Guidelines. If you’re a senior or you know a senior who lives in senior housing or who is involved in a community senior center, present this flyer to the organization for the opportunity to participate in CSFP. Contact Fred Goodman for more information.