Charleston, WV - The West Virginia Department of
Agriculture (WVDA) reported an increase in participation for the United States
Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Proram (SFMNP) during 2017. Numbers reported from the WVDA Agriculture Business
Development Division show a rise in the number of vouchers distributed and
redeemed, as well as farmers that participated in the program.
“Farmers markets are
about more than just supporting your local farmer. They are viable options to
distribute healthy food to citizens,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent
Leonhardt. “The SFNMP provides seniors access to vital, healthy foods.”
The WVDA and its
partners distributed a total of 16,655 vouchers to seniors in West Virginia in
2017. A total of 329 farmers participated in the program by accepting the
vouchers. Additionally, there was a modest increase in the state redemption rate
from 2016. West Virginia has one of the highest redemption rates in the country
at 88 percent. The national redemption rate is 82 percent.
“Each year, the West
Virginia state budget increases despite recent cuts to state agencies. The
budget growth is due to the increased cost of caring for our citizens. Farmers
markets help our state on two fronts. They provide healthier foods to citizens while
spurring economic growth,” said Leonhardt.
SFMNP vouchers will be distributed in June to
eligible seniors over the age of 60. They can be redeemed at farmers markets
for fresh fruits and vegetables. Seniors who meet the requirements can sign up
at their local senior centers beginning in June.
Crescent Gallagher, Communications Director, email@example.com, 304-558-3708 or 304-380-3922