The Senior Farmers' Market nutrition program reopens the application process

BEAUFORT, SC (WSAV) – A program in South Carolina is helping seniors lead healthier lives.

The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) will be extending its online application deadline to allow more residents to participate.

The original application deadline was June 1, when over 22,000 South Carolina residents have submitted applications.

The program aims to provide low-income seniors with access to locally grown fruits and vegetables, help support the community’s farmers markets, and develop new local farming programs.

MORE: Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program Returns to South Carolina

“An application process enables seniors to receive five vouchers totaling $ 25 to be used at local farmers’ markets,” Connelly-Anne Ragley, director of communications for the South Carolina Department of Social Services, told WSAV NOW.

Last year, 725,686 people received SFMNP benefits. It also impacted 14,767 farmers, 2,401 farmers markets, 2,316 street stalls, and 71 community-supported farming partnerships eligible to accept SFMNP checks or coupons.

“These seniors receive vouchers that can be redeemed at local farmers markets and authorized dealerships through the South Carolina Department of Agriculture,” Ragley said. “Not only do the recipients benefit from this, but also our farmers and product stands.”

They currently offer these services to senior citizens in 43 counties.

SC Farmers’ Markets and Roadside Markets card via DHEC

“We know the importance of having fresh fruits and vegetables in every diet, not just in seniors,” said Ragley. “Sometimes it can be really challenging.”

“There are so many great vegetables and fruits that are in season. Many of them are grown right here in South Carolina or in neighboring states like Georgia, ”she added. “We know that healthy communities start with healthy eating.”

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Seniors who have already submitted an application this year do not have to reapply. If you applied for the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program in May, you don’t need to file a double application.

Approved attendees will receive $ 25 in the form of five checks to be issued at authorized locations. Checks are distributed to eligible applicants on a first-come-first-served basis.

To qualify, South Carolina residents must be 60 years of age or older, have an annual income of $ 23,832 or less ($ 32,232 for two), and have a valid driver’s license or federal ID.

To apply, visit the DSS website and complete an online application. You can also call 803-898-7601 and press option 0 to apply. The online application portal closes on July 2, 2021 at 5 p.m.