Vouchers help seniors buy at farmers’ markets

SUSDA logoome vendors at farmers’ markets in Shelby County accept federally funded vouchers that are available to Shelby County’s low-income senior citizens. Two programs that help seniors eat more healthful foods are Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), which distributes USDA foods, and the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP), which distributes vouchers to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, cut herbs and honey at Certified Farmers’ Markets (CFMs).

Shelby County residents can apply for both programs if they are age 60 or older and have an income that is at or below 130% of the U.S. poverty level. Applications for CSFP and SFMNP must be made in person at either of these two locations:

  • The Shelby Co. Health Dept., CSFP Warehouse, 477 N. Manassas, Memphis. For more information, call (901) 222-9750.
  • MAP South, Inc. (a charitable organization), 769 S. Danny Thomas Blvd., Memphis. For more information, call (901) 774-0940.

A list of farmers markets and individual vendors that accept the vouchers is under development but will be distributed when vouchers are available, beginning July 1. To receive the list, call Acqua Banks-Woods at the Shelby County Health Department at (901) 222-9750. The amount people receive will vary, depending on funding. Vouchers are $5, and each participant will get six to eight vouchers. The program helps many senior citizens in Shelby County:

  • 9,320 received SFMNP vouchers in 2013
  • 8,581 received CSFP foods in May 2014

RELATED STORY: See our list of Shelby County farmers' markets.

Written by Carolyn Bahm, Express editor. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or via email to carolyn.bahm@journalinc.com.