VAFMA has partnered with DARS, VDACS, VSU, VDH & the Area Agencies on Aging to expand access to the Senior and WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program across Virginia.
The Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services-Office for Aging Services (DARS-OAS) and DARS-OAS’ agricultural partners: Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, (VDACS); Virginia State University, (VSU), and the Virginia Farmers Market Association, (VAFMA); along with Virginia Department of Health (VDH) WIC programs and the local area agencies on aging (AAAs) have teamed up to provide the Senior and WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (S/FMNP), also referred to as Farm Market Fresh. This program helps Virginia fruit and vegetable farmers and at the same time provides our participants with fresh, local fruits and vegetables.
The Farm Market Fresh program, also known as the Senior & WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (S/FMNP) is a federal and state nutrition program administered by the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS). DARS authorizes farmers to accept Virginia’s Farm Market Fresh for Older Adults and WIC Program (S/FMNP) vouchers at farmers’ markets.
The purposes of the program include providing fresh fruit and vegetables and nutrition education to participants; promotion and use of farmers markets as a direct marketing outlet for Virginia farmers; and promotion of Virginia fresh fruit, vegetables and cut herbs.
About the Program
Through the SFMNP, older adults are eligible to receive 10 vouchers ($5 each), totaling $50 worth of farmers market vouchers to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, and fresh cut herbs from approved vendors if the following statements are true:
- They are 60 years of age or older.
- They are a resident of a locality that participates in the program.
- They do not live in the same household and they are not an immediate family member of the farmer who grows the produce.
- They meet the program’s income requirements. They must certify their household income.
Farmers will apply to be authorized to accept S/FMNP checks. If you are approved, you will enter into a Farmer Agreement signed by DARS-OAS. The Agreement authorizes you as a Farmer to accept the S/FMNP checks. The Agricultural Partner’s local representative in your area will work with you in this program and will review your application.
- Application is active for two years
- Farmers can only sell produce they grow themselves (no purchased/traded or auction produce)
- Agriculture partners contact the farmers to verify “locally-grown” criteria
Completed applications and agreements returned to DARS by April 20, 2023, will be processed in time for the June 1, 2023, start date. Applications and agreements received later will be accumulated, reviewed, and processed at the beginning of the next calendar month. No applications will be accepted after July 15, 2023.
Your application will be reviewed and the information you provide will be verified. It is possible that our Agricultural Partners will conduct a farm visit to ensure that the produce you list for sale on your application is in fact being planted and harvested. The on-farm visit is also a good time for training or for you to get questions answered face-to-face. This year, there will also be an opportunity to participate in a virtual training for new farmers.
If authorized, you will be mailed a copy of the fully signed Agreement, your 2023 sign, ID stamp if needed, and ink refill if needed. You are not allowed to accept any S/FMNP checks until you receive your authorization Agreement, sign, and the other materials or prior to the start-up of the program on June 1, 2023.
Applications, agreements, and a cover letter with more details are linked below.
- Kelly Wright, RDN Nutrition & S/FMNP Coordinator, 804.662.9319
- Madeline R. Moravitz, Aging Services Specialist, 804.662.7507
- Virginia Farm Market Fresh Website
Farmers Market Managers
Please help us expand this program to the farmers at your market.
Role of Market Managers:
- Recruit farmers at your markets
- Pass out applications
- Encourage participation
- Know the policies to support your farmers and shoppers
- Reduce confusion about the program
Sign up to the email interest list to receive more information as it is available.
View Information Session Recording: SFMNP Expansion Webinar
View Presentation Slides: Presentation Slides from DARS about the SFMNP Expansion
Expansion Partners & Supporters
Funding for this publication was made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant 21FMPPVA1084. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.