If you’re a local senior who’s looking to save some money on fresh, local produce this summer–and who isn’t–a government program may be available to help you do that.
The annual Senior Farmers Market Nutritional Program (SFMNP) is administered by the Northampton County Area Agency on Aging and is available to county residents who earn no more than $25,142 (for one person in the household) or $33,874 (for two people in the household) who are 60 years old or older or who will turn 60 by Dec. 31, 2022.
Vouchers are issued in $6 increments and can only be redeemed on purchases of fruits, vegetables and herbs grown in Pennsylvania by growers participating in the Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP).
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania maintains an online directory of vegetable and fruit growers, and recipients of vouchers will also receive a list of local farms that accept them.
The Pa. Department of Agriculture also has a FMNP Market Locator app for Apple and Android users.
Bechdolt Orchards in Hellertown, Traugers Farm in Kintnersville and Pappy’s Orchard in Coopersburg are several of the local farms that participate in the FMNP, according to the online directory.
Several produce vendors at the Saucon Valley, Bethlehem (Lehigh University) and other weekly local farmers markets also accept the vouchers. (Participating market vendors will typically display a white FMNP poster at their stands.)
A list of eligible items–such as peaches, pears, asparagus, leeks and tomatoes–may be found online, along with the rules and regulations program participants must follow.
To download the 2022 Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program application, click here.
Vouchers are available as long as supply lasts and may be used through Nov. 30, 2022.
Completed applications must be mailed to Northampton County Area Agency on Aging, 2801 Emrick Blvd., Bethlehem, PA 18020 or emailed to FMNP@NorthamptonCounty.org by Sept. 15, 2022.
“The application MUST be legible and all sections of the application completed,” the Northampton County AAA website says. “Incomplete or illegible applications will not be accepted.”
For more information about the voucher program, visit Pafmnp.org. For information about the Saucon Valley Farmers’ Market, which is held Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 409 Constitution Ave., Hellertown (next to the Hellertown Area Library) through Nov. 20, visit Svfmpa.com.
Local farms that are interested in participating in the FMNP may contact the Pa. Department of Agriculture for more information. The application to sign up and receive “Eligible Farmer Status” in order to participate in the FMNP may be found here.
Lehigh County Seniors
Lehigh County seniors should click here for more information about their county’s voucher program and instructions on how to obtain an application.
Bucks County Seniors
Bucks County seniors should visit BucksCounty.gov for more information about their county Area Agency on Aging’s farmers market voucher program.