COLUMBUS – During National Farmers’ Market Week, Aug. 4-10, 2019, the Ohio Department of Aging announces that the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 State Budget includes funding that will allow the agency to increase access to healthy, locally grown, fresh fruits and vegetables for older Ohioans.
The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, currently available in 45 Ohio counties, provides eligible older adults with $50 in coupons each growing season to use at participating farmers’ markets and roadside stands to purchase qualifying produce. The program is popular where it is available, enjoying a 95 percent redemption rate.
“Farmers’ markets help older Ohioans learn about and buy healthy food, as well as provide opportunities to interact with friends and neighbors,” said Ursel J. McElroy, director of the department. “Expanding access to farmers’ markets by older adults also supports local farmers, many of whom are older adults themselves.”
The State Budget passed in July included $1.2 million in funding to the Ohio Department of Aging in each fiscal year to serve more Ohioans with the program. This funding will be combined with approximately $1.6 million in annual funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as local funds such as senior levy dollars and donations. During the 2020 growing season, the program will expand to new counties and eliminate wait lists in areas currently served by the program.
“Good nutrition supports a healthy and active lifestyle, reduces frailty and disability, improves health outcomes, and reduces health care costs,” McElroy added. “We are thankful to Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly for investing in this highly successful program and making it available to more older adults.”
Learn more about the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program and other nutrition services supported by the Ohio Department of Aging at www.aging.ohio.gov/nutrition. Contact your Area Agency on Aging for information about local services. Call 866-243-5678 to be connected to the agency serving your community.