Vouchers Provide Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Low-Income Seniors

Applications are now available for the popular Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, which provides low-income seniors with $40 in voucher checks that can be exchanged for fresh produce at farmers markets, roadside stands, and community-supported agriculture programs throughout King County.

Applicants must be King County residents age 60 or older (age 55 or older if American Indian/Alaska Native) and low-income—below 185 percent of Federal Poverty Level (FPL). In real terms, that means someone who meets the age requirement must have an annual income at or below $20,665 (or $1,723 monthly) if he or she lives alone or $27,991 ($2,333 monthly) if he or she lives with one other person. For larger households, the FPL formula adds $611 per month per person.

"Seattle and suburban cities are fortunate to have a wealth of small farmers markets that provide fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits, vegetables, herbs, and honey," said Jesse Eller, director of Seattle Human Services Department's Aging and Disability Services division, which oversees the program in King County. "It's a great investment in senior nutrition as well as our agricultural economy."

Applications are available online—in multiple languages—or by calling any one of the organizations listed below:

  • African American Elders Program: 206-328-6840
  • Asian Counseling & Referral Service: 206-695-7510
  • Chinese Information & Service Center: 206-624-5633, ext. 4178
  • Latino Information & Assistance: 206-764-4700
  • Neighborhood House: 206-461-4522
  • Russian Information & Assistance (Irina at JFS): 425-643-2221
  • Seattle Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens: 206-684-0500
  • Senior Information & Assistance: 206-448-3110 or 1-888-4ELDERS

Because funds are limited, a random selection process is used to select recipients. Completed applications must be submitted by mail and postmarked by June 4, 2012. All applicants will receive a letter by early July informing them of their status.

A searchable list of local markets can be found on the Washington State Farmers Market Association Website.