What Is The Farmer's Market Nutrition Program?
When it comes to finding healthy, fresh produce, it’s hard to beat your local farmers’ market! With a variety of products to brows and entertainment to enjoy, farmers’ markets are a nice outing for the entire family. Luckily for many WIC participants, they may be eligible to receive farmers’ market vouchers as well as their traditional WIC checks.
The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program issues checks every summer and early fall to qualified WIC participants. The values of the checks vary from year to year, but currently, participants will receive four checks at a $5.00 value each. These checks may be redeemed at any PA farmers’ market!
The home-grown fruits and vegetables that can be found at your local farmers’ market are exciting additions to what is available through WIC at the grocery store. They are crisp, fresh and delicious. And not only are participants purchasing food that is better for them and their young family, but they are supporting their local economy as well. The FMNP is sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Those with FMNP checks should take them on their day trip to the market. The farmers who accept FMNP checks will have signs clearly displayed. They can also help guide FMNP participants through what is available to purchase with their checks.
A good rule of thumb to go by, if trying to determine whether or not a product is covered by the FMNP, is to ask if it’s “Grown or Growable in Pennsylvania.” For example, citrus and tropical fruits are NOT included, because they’re not native products to the northeast. But products like corn, watermelon, peaches, mushrooms, potatoes, etc. are all available to FMNP participants.
When WIC participants sign up for the FMNP, their local WIC center will educate them on how to use their checks, which types of foods are included, and healthy nutrition habits for their family. The program is thoroughly explained, and literature such as brochures and lists of markets are provided in order to make utilizing the FMNP easy and stress-free. If a participant has any questions, they can contact their WIC office for assistance.
The Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program provided over 156,000 coupons last year through MFHS. Not sure where the closest farmer’s market to you may be? Ask your WIC office! They have updated PA market lists on hand.